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More rain, but more pain: CRISIL’s DRIP scores indicate stress in 4 states

  • July 29, 2021

The south-west monsoon gathered pace in the last few days, because of which cumulative all-India rainfall was just 2% below normal as on July 28, compared with 8% below normal a week back.

Region-wise, there has been a noticeable improvement in the north-west, where rainfall was 7% below normal as on July 24, down from 21% deficiency as on July 17. This is a welcome development as the north-west region accounts for 43.7% of India’s food grains production.

In the east and the north-east, rainfall was 18% below normal. On the other hand, central India and the southern peninsula received 2% and 22% above-normal rains, respectively.

That means as on July 28, two regions out of four saw above-normal rainfall, compared with just one a week back. But pain points persist with some states experiencing greater deficiency.

For instance, in the north-west — among the major kharif producers — Rajasthan and Punjab have seen deficient rainfall so far at 17% and 12% below normal, respectively. In central India — where overall regional rainfall is above normal — Gujarat and Odisha have logged 30% and 22% below-normal rainfall, respectively.

Despite improvement last week, kharif sowing remains inadequate. For the week ended July 23, sowing area was 70% and 24% lower on-season and by normal area sown (or the average of the past 5 years), respectively. Till July 16, these shortages were 80% and 25%, respectively.

But state-level rainfall volume data alone does not tell the complete story. There are vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation as well that need to be considered.

CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP) does just that. DRIP provides a better impact assessment of deficiency because it factors in the irrigation buffer available for states and crops.

Typically, higher the DRIP score, more adverse the impact of deficient rains.

The latest DRIP scores — as of July 21, 2021 — not only remain high but rose further for Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. Scores are higher both on on-year and on the last five-year average bases.

Among crops, bajra (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat are key producers ) has the highest DRIP score that is more than the last five-year average. It is followed by soybean (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan) and groundnut (Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu), the DRIP scores for which are higher than both last year and the five-year average. These crops have low irrigation buffer.

While DRIP scores for tur (Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh), maize (Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar) and jowar (Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan) are higher than last year, they are not too way off from their five-year averages.

That means despite the improvement in overall rainfall, its spatial distribution hasn’t been too favourable with three crops still showing high DRIP scores. Not only oilseeds, stress is now seen across some coarse cereals. Given the high inflation, this is not a healthy development. A favourable spatial distribution of rains would be crucial in the days ahead.

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