Rajasthan Draught

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The conventional attitude to a drought as a phenomenon of arid and semi-arid areas is changing because even areas with high average rainfall often face acute water scarcity. Cheerapunji, the world’s highest rainfall area, is facing severe drinking water shortages. Drought in the state of Orissa, with an average rainfall of 1100 mm, surprised many. A water scarcity condition in the Himalayan region is also not uncommon. This shows that drought is just not the scarcity or absence of rainfall, but is more related to water resource management (or mismanagement). In the case of Rajasthan, there have been 48 drought years of varied intensity since 1901. (last 102 years). A more detailed analysis reveals that only in 9 out of 102 years were none of the districts in the State affected by droughts. At the village level, the number of drought-free years will be even less. Therefore, every year some part(s) of Rajasthan is affected by drought. Despite this, the State considers drought as a transient phenomenon where shortterm relief measures are considered to be a solution.

This paper examines the range of drought management issues in the State, intends to identify existing gaps and suggest appropriate measures to reduce the impact of droughts in the future. The study is carried out as part of the regional project on drought assessment and mitigation in southwest Asia, which focuses on Afghanistan, southern Pakistan and west India. In this larger project, Rajasthan is selected as a primary target area in India. More specifically, the objectives of this particular study are:

Examine the impact of drought on production, employment, wages and farms income •Analyze drought relief expenditure and its’ impact on the State Budget •Examine existing drought management policies and institutions in the State •Examine issues associated with drought declaration

The study is based on secondary data published by various line departments of State and Central...
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