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Aug 01, 2012, 12.28 PM IST
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will on Wednesday begin his 3-day tour of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan - the country's four worst drought-affected states.
Pawar will lead a team to drought-affected areas in the four states, during August 1-3 to assess the rain deficit and water scarcity situation.
The Agriculture Minister will first visit Maharashtra on Wednesday and later Karnataka on Thursday. He will also hold meetings in Gujarat and Rajasthan on Friday.
He will be accompanied by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh when he meets Chief Ministers to discuss the situation.
The central team comprise of 10-12 members including agriculture secretary, animal husbandry secretary and rural development secretary.
While the all-India average of rainfall deficiency is 21 per cent, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan are worst affected regions.
Different regions in Karnataka have seen rain deficiency between 21 per cent to 44 per cent with the maximum impact felt in South interior parts of the state.
Western Rajasthan has received 64 per cent less rainfall in the season, Saurashtra and Kutch regions in Gujarat are short by 78 per cent so far, according to weather office data.
Due to deficient rains, the Karnataka government has declared drought in 142 taluks and has also announced Rs 3,500 crore package to mitigate farmers' suffering.
Sowing of pulses and coarse cereals (like maize, jowar and bajra) has been affected the most. Although paddy area is also down by 18 lakh hectares so far, there is still hope that shortfall will be made up as paddy season extends till August.
The government has conceded that production in 2012-13 would be lower than the last year's record output.
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