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At Niti Aayog meet, Centre, states talk on steps to tackle rain 'deficit'

PM Narendra Modi chairing the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on Saturday. ...Read More
NEW DELHI: Several states have urged the Centre for swift steps to tackle any possibility of drought and medium-term measures to deal with farm distress as prospects of below normal monsoon rains loom large.
The fifth meeting of the governing council of Niti Aayog held in the national capital heard calls from some state chief ministers to ease the norms of the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). "There was a view that the existing norms need to be revised. The agriculture and home ministry will look into the all demands. No time frame has been fixed ," said a government official. NDRF is a fund managed by the Centre to meet expenses for relief and rehabilitation due to any natural disaster which includes drought and cyclone. Some states wanted the number of days of work under MNREGA to be raised as part of measures to deal with the possibility of a drought.
The official said concerns were expressed by several CMs as this was likely to be the sixth year of below normal monsoon rains which could trigger drought in some areas. The Centre has enough stock of food grains to deal with any drought like situation.
Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy said his state has emerged as the second most arid state in the country due to scanty rainfall and called for urgent steps to help meet the challenge of drought. Large swathes of the country from Karnataka to Rajasthan have faced acute shortage of water and some areas are staring at a drought. According to a private forecaster pre-monsoon showers this year has been the lowest in 65 years. The arrival of the monsoon is expected to ease the situation.
Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani highlighted the impact of climate change which is triggering drought in many areas and called for measures to make agriculture drought resilient.
State governments said the Niti Aayog meeting couldn't have come at a better time and provided a platform to discuss and formalise steps to meet any drought like situation and draw up measures to meet shortage of water across many areas in the country. Several states shared the measures being taken to ease the shortage of water. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis detailed his government's efforts to help supply water to a large number of villages hit. UP CM Yogi Adityanath referred to his government's efforts to revive seven lost rivers in the state.
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