Fast Facts Maharashtra

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  • The major geological feature of the State is the basaltic plateau of the Deccan trap composed of iron ore, limestone, dolomite, bauxite, manganese, chromites, clay, copper. Silica, sand, limonite and other minerals.

  • The Western Ghats Zone (12.2% of the State area) comprises of Malabar Plains and Western Ghats mountains, The Deccan Plateau Zone 86.7% of the State area) has central highlands, central plateau and southern plateau.

6 National Parks

  • Chandoli National Park

  • Gugamal National Park

  • Navegaon National Park

  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park

  • Tadoba National Park

Famine v/s Drought

Famine and drought are often considered one and the same. It is easy to think that where there is drought, there is certainly famine or that where there is famine, there must be drought. The truth of the matter is that the difference between a famine and a drought is huge. Famines and droughts are caused by various conditions and factors that sometimes have nothing to do with the other.

Drought may be defined in three ways. That is to say, there are three kinds of drought. Meteorological drought is a reduction in rainfall below a certain level that is scientifically considered to be a drought. This kind of drought may occur in the course of a season, month, or even day. If it rains less than a specific amount, over the specified amount of time, you have meteorological drought.

Hydrological drought may be caused by meteorological drought, but it need not necessarily be so. This kind of drought occurs when a body of water, such as a stream or lake, falls below a certain amount. For example, in a dry year, meteorological drought may lead to hydrological drought in a stream, when the stream runs much lower than it usually does. Likewise, hydrological drought may exist when the source of a stream is blocked or severed.

Agricultural drought occurs when there is a significant reduction in crop yield, such that it may fall to a certain level considered to be a drought. This kind of drought may be caused by meteorological and/or hydrological drought, but may just as easily stem from insufficient access to fertilizer or some other necessary ingredient to produce yield.

Famine, on the other hand, is caused by a decline in availability of and/or access to food often caused by one of the three kinds of drought. Where there is insufficient water to produce a staple crop, for example, or where there is insufficient fertilizer to produce the standard yield for a crop, drought may lead to and certainly cause famine. Yet, it is not necessarily the drought that causes such a famine.

For famine to occur, there must be insufficient availability of or access to food. Though there may be some kind of drought one year, adequate food management of the available crops may effectively prevent famine. This point highlights the importance of access to food. On that note, inadequate management of a drought may lead to famine because families with less purchasing power, say, are unable to gain access to the available foodstuffs.

Though famine often does follow drought, it is not necessarily a cause and effect relationship. Rather the difference between famine and drought lies in the complexity of this relationship and the conditions and factors that surround local circumstances, as well as government and community responses to drought. The difference between famine and drought is therefore dependent on what causes the drought and how communities handle their food supplies.

SANDRP report

It slams the government for not making any attempt to curb either planting of sugarcane or other water-intensive crops or to curb any of the water-intensive activities like running of sugar and wine factories in drought-affected districts. Builders continued to advertise sale of houses attached with swimming pools in the affected areas.

The analysis compared the rainfall figures of 1972 and 2012, from June to October, for the 17 districts mentioned as drought-affected: Ahmednagar, Pune, Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded, Akola, Parbhani, Buldhana, Nashik, Dhule and Jalgaon.

In June 2012, eight districts had monthly rainfall less than half the normal. In July 2012, no district showed a deficit rainfall of more than 50 per cent. In August 2012, the deficit was more than 50 per cent in Aurangabad, Jalna and Osmanabad (these districts also experienced over 50 per cent deficit in June). This was the case for only Jalna in September 2012 and for Dhule and Jalgaon in October 2012. It seems from this comparison that Aurangabad, Jalna and Osmanabad are some of the worst-affected districts this year.

In comparison, the number of districts that faced more than 50 per cent deficit in monthly rainfall in 1972 was three in June, nine in July, nine in August, six in September and all 17 in October 1972. This comparison for the number of districts facing over 50 per cent deficit in monsoon months clearly indicates that the 1972 rainfall was much lower than the 2012 rainfall for every month, with the exception of June.

Only in two districts (Sangli and Dhule) is the 2012 rainfall substantially lower than that in 1972. In two other districts (Jalna and Satara), the rainfall in 2012 is lower than that in 1972, but the difference is less than seven per cent in both cases. In the remaining 13 districts, the monsoon rainfall in 2012 was more than that in 1972.

While comparing the 1972 and 2012-13 droughts, it must be kept in mind that the rainfall in 1971, the year before the 1972 drought, was also low, says SANDRP. In comparison, the rainfall in Maharashtra was above average in 2011 and most of the dams were full.

The Economic Survey for 2011-12 notes: “Total rainfall in the State during 2011 was 102.3 per cent of the normal rainfall.” The Agriculture Commissioner had stated in 2011: “The good distribution of rain has resulted in good quality of crops. The above average rainfall has filled up nearly all dams, which will help replenish the soil in the run-up to the rabi season.”

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