Declared fifth time in a row; scale of relief yet to be paid for 2017
The State government is yet to release scale of relief to farmers of drought-hit mandals for the year 2017. In fact, the government revised the number of affected mandals last year. Initially, 98 mandals were notified as drought-affected, but later 23 mandals were added taking the total to 121.
Yet, the government, in view of magnitude of the problem, declared drought in 275 mandals this year. This is fifth time in a row. “The drought has impacted close to 32 lakh farmers since 2014,” said a senior official.
The drought impact on agriculture is pegged at ₹3,216 crore during the last four years.
The assessment for current year is in progress.
The government has released the scale of relief, popularly known as input subsidy, to the tune of ₹3,069 crore.
The input subsidy of ₹147 crore for the 2017 rabi drought has been released by the Central government, but the State government is yet to distribute the same among the farmers. “The file is under process,” said the official.
The drought-hit mandals are entitled to a slew of sops.
The farmers can avail credit and other relief measures. Extra 50 man-days of work under MNREGS (100 days in normal days), input subsidy, release of funds under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) are some of the relief measures. However, unless a State declares drought and the Centre assesses the damage, none of the relief measures kick in, say officials.
Rainfall is the most important indicator of drought. A departure in rainfall from its long-term averages is taken as the basis for drought declaration.
Normalised difference, vegetation index and moisture adequacy index are other parameters that are usually applied in combination for drought declaration.