Govt mulling contingency plans to deal with poor rains

NEW DELHI Mon Jun 9, 2014 6:57pm IST

A farmer removes dried grass from his rice field against the backdrop of pre-monsoon clouds on the outskirts of Ahmedabad June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

A farmer removes dried grass from his rice field against the backdrop of pre-monsoon clouds on the outskirts of Ahmedabad June 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will consider giving subsidised diesel, cheaper loans and extra seeds to farmers if rains turn out to be poor this year, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, adding the country was ready to deal with a patchy monsoon.

India is expected to receive below-average rainfall this year, potentially damaging crops in about half of the country's farmland that depends on monsoon rains.

"We have six proposals to help farmers in drought-affected areas and we will soon take these proposals to cabinet," Singh told reporters on Monday.

"We are prepared to deal with poor rains and have already started working with the state governments, especially Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh," Singh said, referring to some of the main grain growing regions.

(Reporting by Mayank Bharadwaj; editing by Malini Menon)

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