State revenue minister Anandi Patel said in the assembly on Tuesday that 939 villages were declared to be scarcity-hit while 2,979 villages were declared to be semi-scarcity hit. All these villages fall in 69 talukas and 10 districts.
Saurashtra region, which had witnessed the most number of farmer suicides last year, was the worst-hit by low rainfall. Over 3,600 villages hit by scarcity or semi-scarcity fall in the six districts of Saurashtra. Junagadh district is home to 848 villages, followed by Rajkot (717), Bhavnagar (670), Amreli (626) and Porbandar (113).
A village is said to be hit by scarcity or semi-scarcity based on anawari survey, a traditional practice of assessing agricultural output during the harvest season. A village where the anawari is less than four anis is declared to be scarcity-affected. Besides, a village where the anawari ranged between four to six anis is called to be semi-scarcity affected.
The anawari survey also said that lakhs of farmers underwent huge financial losses owing to the crop failure. A senior official said that payment of crop insurance to farmers was underway.
The opposition Congress said the government reacted late on the issue and termed the latter's announcing the scarcity-hit villages as a face-saving exercise. Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela said the government knew that they would raise the issue of water shortage in the House on Wednesday and hastily made a statement on it.
Vaghela said that the whole taluka was declared scarcity-hit but it is for the first time that the government had declared selected villages of a taluka as scarcity-hit. He said the northern region of the state was also reeling under water scarcity.