India offers $532 million to states hit by drought, floods

March 13, 2013
Indian villagers gather around a well to fill their pots with water during a drought in Natwargadh village in Gujarat on June 6, 2003. India's government offered millions of dollars to states hit by drought or floods, marking half the funds for a western zone were millions face their worst water shortage since 1972.

India's government on Wednesday offered millions of dollars to states hit by drought or floods, marking half the funds for a western zone were millions face their worst water shortage since 1972.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said a federal ministerial panel which he headed agreed to dole out nearly 29 billion rupees ($532 million) to seven which last year faced , flooding or other .

"We have approved the relief package, which is the highest in recent years," Pawar said and added the panel agreed to hand out 12 billion rupees to drought-stricken Maharashtra, his home state in western India.

"The drought situation in Maharashtra is the worst seen in the last 40 years," Pawar said, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The minister also promised additional help to the parched region, where suicide by debt-ridden farmers is also rampant.

Millions in some 10,000 parched villages in the western state were affected by the 2012 drought, officials reports say.

Last year's searing drought in Maharashtara is blamed on two successive poor monsoons in the region while others say a public policy failure also deepened the crisis for thousands of small growers.

Gujarat and Kerala states would also get , PTI said and added cash would be doled out also to Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarkhand to tackle disruptions from floods, landslides or excessive rains.

With nearly three-quarters of Indians dependent on rural incomes, the yearly monsoon is a lifeline—especially given that about two-thirds of farmland is not irrigated and depends entirely on seasonal rain.

The 1972 drought led to a massive shortage of food grains and spiked, forcing New Delhi to jack up imports, while another crippling drought in 2009 also inflated prices and hardship.

Explore further: Tibet drought worst in 30 years: Chinese state media

Related Stories

Airlift for drought-stricken Pacific island

October 7, 2011

New Zealand and Australia will Friday begin an airlift to help supply fresh water to the tiny drought-stricken Pacific nation of Tuvalu, which is under a state of emergency due to the crisis.

India's monsoon seen picking up in July

July 1, 2012

India's crucial monsoon rains should pick up in July after a slow start over vast swathes of the country, which has threatened crops from rice to sugar, forecasters said.

Millions of Indians facing worst drought in decades

March 6, 2013

Millions of people in western India are suffering their worst drought in more than four decades, with critics blaming official ineptitude and corruption for exacerbating the natural water shortage.

Recommended for you

New study sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

August 24, 2015

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published ...

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.