Finance Minister Mukherjee says summer crop sowing declined by 20 per cent due to drought

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New Delhi, Aug 11 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that there has been a 20 per cent decline in sowing of the Kharif (summer-sown crop) crop.

"Sixty-one districts have already been declared as drought prone. So far the Kharif is concerned, about 20 per cent of sowing will be down," said Mukherjee on the sidelines of the 25th Annual Conference of Income Tax Chief Commissioners and Director Generals here.

However, Mukherjee asked them not to panic, as the country is prepared and has a contingency plan to tackle any unforeseen situation.

"There is a contingency plan but there is no point of pressing the panic button. It will not give any relief. In 1987, the country managed the century's worst drought. We transported drinking water by railways. We arranged fodder for the cattle. Therefore, the country has the experience and capability to handle the situation," he added.

The country has so far received scattered and deficient rainfall, 19 per cent below average, since the beginning of June, the driest in 83 years, data from the India Meteorological Department showed.

Farmers have either dropped or delayed sowing of summer crops due to poor rains.

With the prices of vegetables and foodgrains already skyrocketing, people are apprehensive and have been protesting against the price rise across India complaining that they are no longer able to afford the most common food items. (ANI)

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