The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central Government to revise the manual on declaring drought in the areas and also ordered to frame mandatory policy for states to announce the extreme climate conditions.
The court gave the verdict after hearing out the petition filed by an NGO seeking upgradation in the standard policy for declaring drought. During the verdict the court also made several recommendations mainly in timely disbursement of crop loans, drought compensation and other relief packages.
The court further ordered creation of a disaster management force, mitigating plan and a disaster management fund to tackle the drought situation in any area. While stating the guidelines to declare the drought in any state, court also ask govt to perform a vast monitoring of farmers suicide/migration factors.
Government informed the top court during the last hearing that 256 districts were struggling under an acute early-summer water crisis and drought like condition which further sparked due to monsoon failure in two straight years.
PS Narasimhan, Additional solicitor general presented data from 10 states that are listed under drought hit areas which covers 256 districts, approximately 40% of the country’s total area. The area is home to 33 crore people or 25% of India’s population.
Furthermore the court has directed the agriculture secretary to sit with chief secretaries of Bihar, Haryana and Gujarat and review whether there is any drought-like situation.
While centre argued that they had no role to play in declaring a drought, the top court reminded the government of its responsibility to advise the states if a drought-like situation is foreseen.