Paragraph on Drought Management in India


Here is your paragraph on the drought management:

Among the various natural disasters the one which has received the greater attention is the occurrence of drought.

A drought often leads to total loss of crops or sharp drop in the production of foodgrains and creates conditions of famines. History is replete with great famines in the country and the strategies adopted to face the challenges.


Drought is a slow onset natural hazard and offers sufficient time and opportunity to mitigate its impact. The first systematic attempt at famine relief measures could be traced to Great Famine or the Orissa Famine of 1866. The first Famine Commission was appointed by the then Government of India under the Chairmanship of Sir George Cambell.

The second step was the appointment of a Famine Commission in 1880 following the famines of 1873 and 1876-78. Following the recommendations of the Famine Commission, the administration decided to promulgate Famine Codes from 1883 onwards which ushered in the modern policy of relief administration.

Moving from Drought Relief to Drought Management:

After Independence, India experienced major droughts in the years 1965-67, 1972-73, 1979-80 and 1985-88. The analysis of India’s drought response efforts reveals that the pre-1987 efforts to mitigate droughts were primarily focused to intervene at later stages, particularly at the socio-economic drought stage.


The approach was to deal with ultimate consequences of the drought thus preventing the deterioration drought leading to famine conditions, essentially providing employment opportunities to the affected population through relief projects and distribution of foodgrains through public distribution system (PDS).

The contingent drought relief expenditure imposed a serious strain on public finances as huge amounts had to be divested from development for undertaking relief projects. Analysis of the drought relief expenditure incurred by the Rajasthan Government in 1980s reveals that the drought relief outlays exceeded development outlays.

By incorporating contingency crop planning with drought response efforts through reliei approaches acquired the status of Drought Management Strategies in early 1970s. The drought management approach differed from drought relief approach with regard to objectives, reliance of early warning indicators and timing of public intervention.

The objective of relief approach was to protect entitlements of the affected population by ensuring physical and economic access to food through relief projects and public distribution of system of food-grains. As against this, the drought management approach aimed at ensuring entitlement to produce food as to obviate the need for taking up ad hoc relief projects.

While drought relief approach relied on socio-economic indicators like crop production data, price rise, migration of the people and increased rate of petty crimes, etc., for drought declaration and intervention, drought management approach relied on hydro-agro indicators like rainfall, water level reservoirs and progress of cropping pattern to detect early signs of developing drought situation.


While drought relief approach enabled the government to intervene only in the month of November/December when the rainy season is over and the kharif crops have been harvested, the drought management approach enabled the government to intervene in the monsoon season itself.

According to report of the High Powered Committee on Disaster Management (2002), “Drought management is generally by focus on employment generation, water conservation and power supply, standing crop saving and public distribution supplies of essential commodities”. However, drought management may conveniently discuss under the following heads.

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