MUMBAI: The government has decided to drop the traditional parameters used for declaring drought and now the decision will be taken by using scientific methods. The State government has decided to change the norms on the directive of the Union government,.
The Union government has prepared a drought mitigation programme-2016 and framed guidelines for declaration of drought. According to a senior officer in the Mantralaya, the draft is ready and in the next two to three days the government resolution will be declared after getting the nod from the chief minister.
Currently, there are no proper parameters for declaring drought. The revenue officials take the decision based on a visual survey. There are many errors in this manual system.
As per the new parameters, state governments will declare drought through a notification specifying clearly the geographical extent and administrative units such as gram panchayats, blocks, mandals, talukas, sub-division and districts. The notification will indicate the level of of the drought, whether moderate or severe. The validity of such notification will not be for more than six months.
The declaration of Kharif drought should not be done later than October 30 and the Rabi drought by March 31. The state governments will declare the calamity as ‘drought’ and not under any other nomenclature.
Drought declaration during August may be carried out, if the seasonal conditions signify drought-like situation. Deficit rainfall in June and July with prolonged dry spells leading to significant reduction in crop-sown area can trigger declaration of early drought.
If there is rainfall deficiency based on rainfall deviation and if the dry spell continues, then it is mandatory to declare drought.
Among the impact indicators are reduction in crop sown area or failed sowing, fall in ground water level or reservoir water index. In such a situation drought can be declared.