"The recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have adversely affected production of rabi crops...
"... further aggravating the overall production of agricultural crops during 2014-15," Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kundaria said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
Wheat, mustard and grams are the major Rabi (winter-sown) crops. India's foodgrains production is estimated to decline by 3.2 per cent at 257.07 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) as against 265.57 million tonnes in the previous year, he said.
In reply to a separate query, Kundaria said unseasonal rains and hailstorm on February 28 and March 1 have affected rabi crops in many states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh etc.
"As per preliminary reports, about 27 lakh hectare crop area was affected. The states are yet to submit their assessment of loss to standing crops to Ministry of Agriculture," he added.
In Rabi season of 2014-15 crop year, 535.35 lakh hectares were sown under foodgrains and 79.34 lakh hectares under oilseeds. The government provides support to states under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for losses to crops due to natural calamity as per the guidelines of SDRF and NDRF.
"In order to supplement the efforts of states to minimise the losses to crops due to unseasonal rains, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture has issued advisories to states and farmers through SMS and other electronic media time-to-time," Kundaria said.