"Sharad Pawar will now head the EGoM on drought related issues," a source said.
The EGoM is authorised to review the situation and take "quick and timely decisions" on policy and other matters for effective management of drought and related issues. Home Minister P Chidambaram, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal are also part of the EGoM. The other members include Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Railway Minister Mukul Roy, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Food Minister KV Thomas.
Finance Ministry will now be represented by Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena. Monsoon rains, the life line of Indian agriculture, have been deficient by 22 per cent so far this year across the country and the situation is worrisome in Karnataka and central Maharashtra. Deficient rains have affected the sowing of major kharif (summer) crops like rice, cotton, coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses.
India had faced a severe drought in 2009 which led to decline of foodgrains production by 16 million tonnes to 218 million tonnes. On the back of good monsoon, the country had produced a record 257.44 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year (Jul-Jun) with an all-time high production of wheat and rice.