The Indian summer monsoon plays an integral role in the Indian economy. Even after seeing tremendous growth in the service and the industrial sectors, India remains predominantly an agricultural country. The Indian summer monsoon, therefore, plays a large role in terms of water availability and ensuring food security. The monsoon in India occurs in two phases: the Indian summer monsoon, occurring in the months of June-July-August-September (the JJAS cycle) and the winter monsoon, occurring in the months of December-January-February (the DJF) cycle.
Maharashtra depends heavily on the monsoons for its agricultural production. Though lately irrigation facilities have been developed in some ...view middle of the document...
If a drought goes on several years, farmers often suicide as they are unable to pay off their debts.
From the standpoint of the government, droughts cause an overall loss to the GDP of the state as the agricultural produce goes down. Droughts often create disaster management pressures on the government as well as the governments have to set up emergency camps to provide adequate nutrition to men and their cattle.
Finally, droughts create ecological pressures in the form of increased use of groundwater resources. If droughts continue for a couple of years, they may not allow the groundwater resources to replenish.
One of the major consequences of drought is the change in wealth of farmers. The big farmers are usually not the worst affected by droughts, it is the small farmers that get hit by droughts the most. The affect of a drought on a farmer’s wealth also depends up on the assets a farmer already has. When faced with a drought, farmers usually obtain money by selling off their cattle and other assets they own to ensure accessibility to food. Such a situation has an adverse impact on the society as those who cannot get access to food may want to obtain it through unfair means. Often in a situation of drought the small farmers are taken advantage of as the wealthy want to buy their assets at cheap prices thereby increasing inequalities. Amartya Sen in his article ‘Poverty and famines’ in 1981 studied the impact of drought on the income levels of rich and poor. The Food and Agriculture Organization in their paper ‘Livestock losses and post-drought issues in Sub-Saharan Africa’ have summarized Sen’s findings in an apt way “He showed an individual's entitlement to food depends not only on direct output of crops, etc. but also on his access to food through the market, by the sale of labour or other commodities and through non-market mechanisms, such as redistributive systems within society. In times of drought, not only is there a direct shortfall of food production but also relative price movements of grain versus other commodities may drastically reduce the purchasing power of groups. It is seen in the case of pastoralists who face rising grain prices but failing livestock prices as drought intensifies. Pastoralists face a major decision problem related to the timing of sales which minimize unfavourable grain/livestock ratios. Many farmers may be in a similar situation, needing to sell livestock, labour or land in markets where an excess supply of these commodities has reduced their value.”
In India, the onset of the monsoon begins in Kerala on the 28th May with a standard deviation of 7 to 8 days (Singh and Ranade, 2010). In Maharashtra, the onset of the monsoon happens in the first week of June and the monsoon retreats by the month of September. The progress of the Indian summer monsoon season in Maharashtra can be attributed to two geographical factors: the Arabian Sea branch that influences majorly the western and central parts of the...