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Govt ready to tackle deficient monsoon, says Agri Min

Govt ready to tackle deficient monsoon, says Agri Min
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday exuded confidence over tackling deficient monsoon, minimising production losses and its possible impact on <g data-gr-id="58">overall</g> economy. He also said that the government is working on bringing a new crop insurance policy by <g data-gr-id="57">end</g> of this year to protect farmers’ income.

To check price rise in pulses, the Minister said that the government is mulling over improving domestic supplies through imports and is collecting pulses requirement data from states. Addressing a press conference organised to highlight the Agriculture Ministry’s <g data-gr-id="56">one year</g> achievement, Singh said: “In <g data-gr-id="55">agriculture</g> sector, there would obviously be some losses if there are problems (of deficient rains). We have confidence and policies in place to ensure there is minimum damage to agriculture sector and <g data-gr-id="54">overall</g> economy.”

At present, the government is ready with contingency plans for 580 districts and is in touch with state governments and agriculture research bodies to tackle the situation, he added. Stating that Indian agriculture is resilient to rainfall deficit, Singh said, “When we came to power, we faced <g data-gr-id="66">drought-like</g> situation. Everyone <g data-gr-id="64">were</g> tensed. But our ministry worked hard to minimise the damage. There were losses in production but the losses were not that huge. This time, we will face the situation based on our earlier experience.” Asked if bad days are ahead for farmers, the Minister said, “Good and bad days are <g data-gr-id="63">creation</g> of man-made or nature. Man-made bad days have ended and good days have begun...”

The government cannot stop natural calamity but it has the responsibility to face any eventualities, he said adding that efforts would be made to reduce the impact of deficit rains on agriculture output. The Met department has predicted “deficient” monsoon and revised its forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent for this year, with <g data-gr-id="53">north-west</g> region of the country expected to be hit the most.

Last year, the country had received 12 per cent <g data-gr-id="59">less</g> rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds. According to the government’s estimate, total foodgrains production has declined to 251.12 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes in the previous year. Due to poor monsoon, agriculture growth stood at 0.2 <g data-gr-id="41">per cent</g> in the 2014-15 fiscal. 

Deficient monsoon is a cause of worry and could affect sales in some parts of the country, especially in <g data-gr-id="49">rural</g> market, according to car market leader Maruti Suzuki India. “Yes, the deficient monsoon prediction is a cause of worry. Sales could be affected in some parts, <g data-gr-id="48">specially</g> in the rural market,” Maruti Suzuki India Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters here.

The company’s rural sales had increased by 23 <g data-gr-id="39">per cent</g> to 4,15,380 units in last fiscal year, when it posted a total of 12,92,415 units -- the highest ever total sales in a financial year. Yesterday, the Met Department had revised monsoon forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent for this year, with <g data-gr-id="51">north-west</g> region of the country expected to be hit the most.

In April, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast that monsoon rains would be 93 <g data-gr-id="43">per cent</g> of the average, which is categorised as “below normal”. Now, with the revised projection of 88 per cent, the monsoon is categorised as “deficient”. Ayukawa, however, said Maruti Suzuki would try to overcome the impact of the deficient monsoon with new product launches and other market activation activities. Last fiscal, the company had established <g data-gr-id="60">presence</g> in 1.25 lakh villages and is targetting to enhance presence in 1.5 lakh villages going forward. 

Sensex plunges 351 pts on drought fears 
The BSE Sensex plunged by 351 points on Wednesday to fall below the 27,000-mark on heavy selling in realty and FMCG sectors as contraction in services sector for the first time in 13 months coupled with drought fears hit market sentiment. A day after RBI’s comment over <g data-gr-id="102">risk</g> of inflationary worries due to deficient monsoon amid global uncertainties, bearish sentiment persisted on economic recovery concerns. 

“Several short-term concerns have overshadowed investor sentiments, which have led to the Indian stock market sliding for the second consecutive trading session. Thus, the probability of a rate cut in the next policy meet has becoming much slimmer,” said Hitesh Agrawal, Head Research of Reliance Securities. 
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