"All-India drought"

Published: Wednesday 15 January 2003

-- Since 1987, India has had 14 'consecutive' 'good' monsoons

If the 'seasonal rainfall' (June-September) of the entire country is 'within 10 per cent' of the 'long term average', it is called 'normal' rainfall

This year, 'seasonal rainfall' for the entire country was '19 per cent' 'below' the 'long term average'

Earlier years of all-India drought
1987, 1979, 1972

The country as a whole may 'get' a 'normal monsoon' , but different 'meteorological districts' and 'sub-divisions' can 'get' 'rainfall' 'below normal' . The 'rainfall categories' for smaller areas are defined as: 'deviation from a meteorological area's normal rainfall'

Excess +20% of normal Normal +19% of normal Deficient -20% to -59% of normal Scanty -60% of normal

There are 3 'types' of droughts

(i) Meteorological drought: 'Actual rainfall' in an area significantly less than 'climatological mean' of that area

(ii) Hydrological drought: A 'marked depletion' of surface water causing very 'low stream flow' and drying of lakes, rivers and reservoirs

(iii) Agricultural drought: Inadequate soil moisture resulting in 'acute' crop 'stress' and 'fall' in 'agricultural productivity'

Deficient rainfall in smaller areas result in pockets of drought around the country
Rainfall (deviation from ‘normal’) ‘Type’ of drought
–26% to –50% ‘Moderate’ drought
More than –50% ‘Severe’ drought

This year, 19 per cent of India's land area experienced 'moderate drought' ; 10 per cent suffered 'severe drought'

Rainfall in July (most important for agriculture) was 49 per cent 'deficient'. The last time this figure fell below 45 per cent was in 1911

When there is more than 10 per cent rainfall deficiency, and more than 20 per cent of the area is under drought, the situation is called "all-India drought"

In 2002, rainfall deficiency was 19 per cent, and 29 per cent of India was under drought

Meterological sub-division Rainfall
(per cent below normal)
West Rajasthan
East Rajasthan

Coastal Andhra Pradesh
North Interior Karnataka
South Interior Karnataka
Coastal Karnataka
Tamil Nadu


Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.