Agricultural Drought scenario in India
Drought is a climatic anomaly, characterized by deficient supply of moisture resulting either from sub-normal rainfall, erratic rainfall distribution, higher water need or a combination of all the three factors. About two thirds of the geographic area of India receives low rainfall (less than 1000 mm), which is also characterized by uneven and erratic distributions. Out of net sown area of 140 million hectares about 68% is reported to be vulnerable to drought conditions and about 50% of such vulnerable area is classified as ‘severe’, where frequency of drought is almost regular. Abnormally low rainfall in 1979 in India reported to have reduced the overall food grain by as much as 20%. The 1987 drought in India damaged 58.6 million hectares of cropped area affecting over 285 million people. The 2002 drought had reduced the sown area to 112 million hectares from 124 million hectares and the food grain production to 174 million tons from 212 million tons. The total food grain production in India has to be stepped up from 212 million metric tons to 300 million metric tons by 2020 to meet the food demands of growing population. Therefore, there is a need for effective monitoring of agricultural drought, its onset, progression and impact on crops to minimize the damages.