The all-India rainfall level stabilised around 7 per cent below the long-period average (LPA) in the week ended September 5. With the key rainfall months of July and August behind us, the rainfall situation and impact seems more stable now.
Over for the season so far, six key kharif crop-growing states — Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, West Bengal and Haryana saw deficient rains, with deficiencies of 15-23 per cent. Of these, however, Gujarat and West Bengal appear more affected because of low irrigation cover. Rains in Rajasthan have just turned deficient at 10 per cent below LPA.
Rainfall volume data alone is not sufficient to assess the distribution impact. It is important to weigh that along with irrigation levels. Some states have reasonably good irrigation levels, so weaker rains are unlikely to dent crops sown there.
That is where CRISIL's Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP), provides a better assessment of deficiency because it considers the irrigation buffer available. The higher the DRIP score, the more adverse the impact of deficient rains. This week's DRIP scores continue to highlight the strain in Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Bihar, where the scores are higher than last year and above the average of the past five years.
But crop-wise DRIP scores show stress on two crops - groundnut (largely cultivated in rain-deficient Gujarat) and rice (West Bengal) — where scores are higher than 2017 and the past average. Relatively low area under irrigation cover for these two crops in Gujarat and West Bengal pushes up the DRIP scores.
We will continue to track DRIP scores for the rest of September, but with the southwest monsoon now retreating, the situation at the crop and state level is unlikely to alter much unless rainfall conditions change drastically.