Amid rainfall deficit of 33 per cent affecting sowing of kharif crops in June, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Tuesday said there was "no cause of concern" about monsoon following the latest IMD estimate, but the government is keeping a close watch on it.
Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal said the sowing of kharif (summer) crops like paddy will pick up as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) estimates good rains in the coming months.
He also said the government will soon take a decision on minimum support price (MSP) for the notified kharif crops for the new crop year, which will also boost the sowing activity.
"It (drought) is not new for India. Right now, the current estimate does not indicate reasons for any concern. The ministry is keeping a close watch," Tomar said when asked about deficit rainfall and drought-like situation in few states in the country.
According to the IMD, there was 33 per cent deficit in southwest monsoon during June and over 78 per cent of meteorological subdivision recorded "deficient" rainfall.
As a result, farmers were able to sow kharif crops only in 146.61 lakh hectares till last week of the sowing season as against last year's 162.07 lakh hectre, as per the Agriculture Ministry's latest data.
Stating that there is no cause of worry about monsoon as of now, the Agriculture Secretary said the IMD estimates good rainfall in July and August.
"Yes, there was some lag in sowing of kharif crops during June. However, it will pick up in the coming months. We are confident that sowing target will be achieved," he told PTI separately.
Asked about fixing MSP for kharif crops, he said a decision on this will be taken by the cabinet soon.
Sowing of kharif crops begin with the onset of soutwest monsoon from June. But this time, the monsoon rains arrived late delaying the sowing operation. The country's 50 per cent of the farm land is dependent on monsoon rains.