Express News Service
NEW DELHI: With inadequate rainfall in July and August, nearly 30 per cent of the country is facing drought conditions which have steadily risen over the last month.
Last year, only 10 per cent of these areas were facing a similar situation in the same period.
The drought forecast shows that the situation is expected to improve in the coming weeks with the weather office expecting rains to pick up this month.
According to rainfall data collated by the India Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, till September 4, 27.70 per cent of these areas range from abnormally dry to extreme dry, while 1.58 per cent falls in the category of exceptionally dry range.
Just a month back, on August 3, area from abnormally dry to extreme dry was 18.28 per cent, while exceptionally dry was at 1.31 per cent.
A team of experts from the IIT-run India Drought Monitor tracked geographical areas facing drought conditions based on rainfall from data provided by the India Meteorological Department.
The states facing worst drought conditions include Gujarat, Odisha, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states.
According to the Union Jal Shakti ministry, meteorological drought is classified based on rainfall deficiency — 25 per cent or less is normal, 26-50 per cent is moderate and more than 50 per cent is severe.
The Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal ministry in respect of monitoring and managing drought conditions and droughts are classified into meteorological droughts, hydrological droughts and agricultural droughts.
The government takes a call on drought based on several parameters.
Around 68 per cent of India is prone to drought in varying degrees — 35 per cent which receives rainfall between 750 mm and 1125 mm is considered drought prone, while 33 per cent receiving less than 750 mm is chronically drought prone, as per official classification.