Rain coverage healthy so far despite dark clouds of Covid-19: CRISIL DRIP

The monsoon has been pouring hope amid the dark clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rains arrived on time and covered the entire country at least 12 days ahead of its normal July 8 date.

At an all-India level, rainfall was 15 per cent above normal as of end-June, and most abundant in central India, east, and north-east.

As of end-July, it moderated to normal (or 0 per cent deviation). The month saw downpour abundant in east, north-east, and the southern peninsula (12 per cent above normal in both regions), while it turned 20 per cent below normal in the north-west.

The early arrival of monsoon hastened sowing across crops. As of July 31, sowing is 14 per cent higher on-year and about 82 per cent of total kharif acreage has been covered. Sowing has progressed the fastest in pulses and rice (19 per cent higher on-year), followed by oilseeds (Rs 17 per cent higher) and cotton (Rs 11 per cent higher).

This seeds hope that agriculture can help Indian economy from sinking too low this fiscal year. Some regions and states are seeing the rainfall moderate, which bears watching. But the rainfall volume data alone does not tell the whole story. There is a need to consider vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation for a comprehensive perspective on states and crops.

CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP) does just that. DRIP provides a better assessment of deficiency because it considers the irrigation buffer available for states and crops. Higher the DRIP scores, more adverse the impact of deficient rains. We compare scores not just with the previous year, but also with the last five-year average.

State-wise, rains have been above normal in major crop-producing states except Rajasthan, where they are 27 per cent below normal. The DRIP score for Rajasthan is both, higher on-year and higher than last five-year average. Among crops, DRIP scores are high for bajra (Rajasthan is a major producer) where scores are above the last five-year average. For soybean and maize (Rajasthan and MP are large producers for both crops), scores are higher than both, last year and average of the past five years.

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