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No Drought In India–Yet–But Rains Stay Away

Yashwantrao Yadav,
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While India witnessed a 30% deficit in rainfall last week (September 10-16), there has been a 16% deficit in rainfall across India over the entire monsoon season.


With the rainfall short by 63%, Karnataka has announced a drought last month, and Maharashtra is considering it, even as the rain picked up over the past week. Central and northwest–encompassing parts of Uttar Pradesh, Telengana and Madhya Pradesh–India are in a similar shape.


IndiaSpend reported last week that Marathwada and the adjoining regions in Maharashtra have received about half as much rain as they normally do and at least 600 farmers have killed themselves.


Source: India Meteorological Department


The map (the map changes every day; the data are current till September 17) shows rain-deficient regions of India during the 2015 monsoon.


Rainfall deficit implies lesser-than-normal rainfall; all regions with rainfall deficits may not face drought.


Recorded patterns of rainfall deficit in the meteorological sub-divisions of India help in identifying drought-prone regions.


Drought Probablity Across India
Meteorological Sub-Division Frequency Of Deficient Rainfall
Assam Very rare. Once in 15 years
West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Konkan, Bihar and Orissa Once in 5 years
South Interior Karnataka, East Uttar Pradesh and Vidarbha Once in 4 years
Gujarat, East Rajasthan, West Uttar Pradesh Once in 3 years
Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and Telangana, West Rajasthan Once in 2.5 years

Source: National Institute of Hydrology


More than 100 districts experienced a drought over the past 15 years, reflecting growing drought frequencies, according to a report by Down to Earth magazine.


The pattern has left experts baffled and has raised concerns about policy changes that favour water-heavy crops.

(Yadav is a doctoral scholar with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Additional research by Saumya Tewari of IndiaSpend.)



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