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RATION IN INDIA context . Despite persisting drought like conditions, many states did not declare, officially, the drought. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared that 255 districts (31% of the districts in India) of the country recorded deficient (-59 to -20 per cent) or scanty (-99 to 60) rainfall, thus facing drought like conditions. .More than 50 per cent of the districts in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Karnataka Arunachal Pradesh and Goa received deficient rainfall
Some states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, An Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand declared drought. . However, Gujarat, where 67 per cent of districts received deficient rainfall, is yet to declare a drought. Assam has received 26 per cent of deficit rainfall but not yet declared drought districts. Reason behind unwillingness of states to declare drought .The 2016 manual not only has made the parameters to declare drought complex and stringent, but has also limited Centre's scope to offer financial assistance to states in the eventuality of a drought. The Centre will only provide funds under National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to state governments in case of "Severe" drought.
.Since the yardstick to measure the severity of drought is stric new conditions make it more difficult for the states to prove "severe" drought and get relief from the Centre. This is a double whammy for most states as they lack drought early warning systems The 2009 norms were supportive of states as they could get the Centre's assistance even if they suffered "moderate" drought. Although the new norms don't prevent states to put a drought-hit region under the "moderate" category, the states, however, will have to pay for the relief from their own budget. After protest by various states, however, a 29th May 2018 Amendment to the Drought Manual, 2016 says that a state can ask for assistance for even a moderate category drought provided it is unable to meet drought relief through SDRF.
Declaration of Drought The Manual for Drought Manageme released in December 2016 by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, prescribes "new scientific indices and parameters" for a "more accurate assessment of drought" in the country. The manual lists five categories of indices, which include rainfall, agriculture, soil moisture, hydrology, and remote sensing (health of crops) Rainfall is considered to be the most important indicator and therefore related meteorological data should be mandatorily considered in making any assessment of drought. The other indices are to be evaluated in conjunction with the rainfal related data to assess the impact of rainfall deficiency.
. Characteristics of Drought that make it a challenging Haza Drought is a complex phenomenon as it involves elements of meteorology like precipitation, evaporation, evapotranspiration, ground water, soil moisture, storage and surface run-off agricultural practices, particularly the types of crops grown, socio-economic practices and ecological conditions. . Drought differs from other natural hazards such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis in that: Lack of Uniform Definition: There is no universally accepted definition that can encapsulate the complexity of this phenomenon adequately.
Forecasting: It is difficult to determine the beginning and end of a drought e because of the slow, 'creepy' onset, silent spread and gradual withdrawal. In India, is generally considered to be coterminous with the monsoons. Temporal and Spatial Extent: An episode could spill over months or even years with or without any accompanying shift in the geographical arena. o Spatial expanse tends to be far greater than in the case of other natural calamities, which when compounded by the difficulties associated with the impact assessment of the disaster, makes effective response highly challenging. Measurement of Severity of Drought: There is no indicator or index which can precisely forecast the advent and severity of a drought event, nor project its possible impacts Difficulty in Impact Forecast: Impacts are generally non-structural and difficult to quantify e.g. the damage to the ecology, the disruption of socio-economic fabric of communities, the long term effects of mal-nutrition on health and morbidity
For agriculture, Climate is not always the immediate reason for though it can aggravate the drought precipitation. Some of the factors which can decide drought vulnerability and potential crop losses include- . Crop MSP (Minimum Support Prices), availability of Credit and Crop Insurance; .Alternative livelihood, in particular, non-farm employment avenues (e.g. MGNREGA); Development of Water Storage Infrastructure, in particular, farm ponds and water harvesting infrastructure; Drought forecasting and interventions to deal with water shortages. In short, drought vulnerability depends on socio- economic factors and status of farmers, and the institutional support extended to them. All of these are now part of National Policy on Sustainable Agriculture