The all-India rainfall figure was near-normal at 7% below the long-period average (LPA) as on August 1, 2018. Among the key kharif growing areas, rains have caught up in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, but continues to be deficient (10% below normal) in Bihar and West Bengal. In Gujarat, it has turned mildly deficient.
Typically, rainfall volume data alone is not sufficient to assess the hydration math. For a comprehensive perspective on states and crops, there is a need to also ascertain the vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation.
CRISIL's Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter or DRIP, does just that. And higher the CRISIL DRIP score, more adverse the impact of deficient rains.
For Bihar and West Bengal, the scores are not only higher than 2017, a good rainfall year, but also above the average of the past five years. By contrast, Gujarat has a high score but it is lower than the past average. In Andhra Pradesh, rains have turned mildly deficient only this week, so DRIP scores are higher than 2017, but lower than in the past. Broadly, these states are seeing more stress.
Pertinently, the rainfall situation continues to evolve. July and August are critical for kharif crops, so a lot would depend on how August now pans out.
The Indian Meteorological Department said August rains are expected to be better than their previous forecast.
The DRIP scores for three crops are higher than in 2017. These are groundnut (mainly cultivated in rain deficient states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh), rice (West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar) and cotton (cultivated majorly in Gujarat). DRIP scores for these crops are high but still lower than their past average.