All-India rainfall has improved slightly in the week ended August 15 with cumulative precipitation at 9 per cent below the long-period average (LPA), compared to 10 per cent in the preceding week. But the situation at the state level has deteriorated. Rain has swamped Kerala, with 11 of its 14 districts recording excess. Yet, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar and Bengal continue to see deficiency at 18-26 per cent of the LPA. Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Rajasthan joined them last week. These six are major kharif-growing states. But rainfall volume data alone is not sufficient. For a comprehensive view, it’s important to weigh it against irrigation levels.
CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter, or DRIP, does just that. The higher the CRISIL DRIP score, the more adverse the impact of deficient rain. This is especially evident from the case of Haryana, which has, through most of this season, seen deficiency of above 12 per cent, but the DRIP score has stayed low because it is well-irrigated. This week’s DRIP results highlight high stress in Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan and Bengal. In these, DRIP scores are higher than those of last year as well as above the past five years’ average.
Among the previous week’s list of stressed states, AP is out because the rain situation there has improved. While Rajasthan has joined the list, MP, Gujarat and West Bengal have not moved. The DRIP scores for three crops are high compared to 2017 and the past five years’ average. These are groundnut (cultivated in rain-deficient states of Rajasthan and Gujarat), soybean (Rajasthan and MP) and bajra (Rajasthan and Gujarat). Here, soybean and groundnut have continued to see stress for 2-3 weeks. Jowar and rice also show some stress, with scores lower than or at par with past averages, but higher than in 2017. The situation is yet to evolve. Rain in August is as critical to kharif as that in July, so a lot depends on what happens in the next two weeks.