Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has officially declared 161 districts as drought-prone and said the government would take the necessary steps to fight the situation. We have a contingency plan in place to fight the weak monsoon, he said. Mukherjee said that while the overall kharif sowing was down by 20%, major agricultural states like Punjab and Haryana were not severely hurt by the weak rains and made up for it via groundwater use.
The finance minister also spoke on concerns that this would affect Indias FY10 growth and added that he saw FY10 GDP growth above 6%. We are also confident on surpassing the FY10 direct tax target, he said.
Inflation may rise
Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla said the government was awaiting various states assessment on the impact of monsoon, after which a decision would be taken on the steps that were required.
We will find adequate resources to tackle the drought, he said, adding that the government was banking on additional tax revenues this fiscal.
The finance secretary said inflation may rise later this year on account of poor rains. He however said it was not clear if the drought would push the FY10 fiscal gap or the government borrowing.