In June, 7 drought-hit states short of water
Of 11 states ravaged by drought in 2016, seven - Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana - had less than average water in their reservoirs in June.
Levels in dam reservoirs were no more than 10 per cent of capacity for four of the 11 states as June ended, according to the data with the Central Water Commission. This is despite the fact that eight of the 11 had average rainfall in June; rains were 30 per cent short of the average normal in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Maharashtra.
Telangana's reservoirs are at two per cent of capacity, Maharashtra’s at 5.6 percent and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka at 9.5 per cent, which means South Central India is particularly short on water. Maharashtra, with a 33 per cent deficit in June rainfall, was the worst-hit state at the end of June.
The situation in 2016 is a reminder of the 2009 drought that wreaked havoc with India’s economy by pushing inflation to double digits. But much will depend, experts said, on how the monsoon progresses over the next three months.
Although reasonable rainfall was reported from Maharashtra’s central and southeastern Marathwada region, a traditionally drought-prone area, reservoir levels remain at one per cent of capacity - as they have been since a month - an unprecedented situation.
Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were four of 11 drought-hit states that reported more-than-average water in their reservoirs.
The southwest monsoon hit India eight days late, breaking over Kerala on June 8, 2016, instead of June 1. It reached Mumbai on June 20, 10 days later than it usually does.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh received more than average June rainfall till June 23, according to India Meteorological Department data.
While monsoon rains are underway in southern and eastern India, and most of the central plains, Gujarat and Rajasthan have got little or no rain.
Despite higher-than-average rainfall in June 2015, all states reported uniform shortfalls over the 2015 monsoon season, indicating that June rainfall is not a harbinger of what might happen.
If the two water indicators - reservoir levels and rainfall (in June) - are taken together, Maharashtra, as we said, is the worst-affected state in India.
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, both equally affected by the drought and with water in their reservoirs at less than 10 percent, have benefitted from above-normal June rainfall.
Lowest water levels in Maharashtra reservoirs in eight years: Govt
While the CWC data covers only major reservoirs in Maharashtra, the state government water resources department puts water levels in Maharashtra dams at nine per cent of capacity, the lowest in eight years.
June rainfall in 2014 was a fourth of the average; in 2016, it was half of that. The northern and eastern areas of the state, the Vidarbha region, were worst hit in 2009, sparking a wave of farmer suicides.
“If we consider the four-month rainfall - June, July, August and September - as important for agriculture, a delayed monsoon will undoubtedly reduce the June rainfall,” Ranjan Kelkar, former Director General of India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IndiaSpend. “That tells us nothing about rainfall in the remaining three months; it all depends on how strong the coming monsoon winds are.”
In April, the Met forecast above-average monsoon rainfall for the June to September 2016 season, standing by its forecast in June. As Kelkar said, it all depends on the next three months.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.



Dilution of values: Short term gain and long term pain

Human beings take a sanguine view of the long-term future, believing that life will take care of itself. It is the immediate future that bothers us more. In his famous book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman documents the human tendency to emphasize the ‘peak-end’ experience rather than the average experience over its duration”. 


According to Kahneman, human beings are inclined towards what they refer to as “the instant high”. Consequently, we prefer decisions that improve the short-term prospects, even at the cost of creating fundamental, structural long-term problems.


The financial crisis of 2008 was rooted in overleveraging and excessive risk taking. Despite clear evidence having emerged of high, unsustainable levels of debt, the financial markets kept encouraging more and more risky debt.


Post crisis, when reduction of interest rates has not succeeded, central banks have introduced negative interest rates. When QE1 (Quantitative Easing1) did not have the desired effect, we had the QE2 and QE3. When the first Greece bail-out did not succeed due to lack of fiscal discipline, providing a financial relief package was considered more critical than getting that country to avoid financial profligacy. It was only German insistence on financial discipline that prevented European Central Bank (ECB) insanity. Such examples can be easily multiplied manifold.


Ideas to resolve a specific problem often get abused through inappropriate application to different scenarios, purely based on convenience. The most abused proposition has, of course, been that of providing fiscal stimulus as a onetime palliative to overcome the recession in the 1930s.


Keynes had proposed fiscal stimulus as a onetime solution to a specific problem that confronted the global economy, but never as a generic antidote to underutilization of economic capacity. The proposition has, however, been used to justify persistent fiscal deficits the world over to such an extent that such pump priming has become almost a moral duty of governments. This, of course, is music to the ears of the politicians who can merrily engage in indiscriminate spending, without any qualms. Why worry about the long term implications such a policy may have? We can always take recourse, again inappropriately, to another contextually specific statement from the great man (Keynes, of course) that in the long run we are all dead!


There is a case here for a concept, which economists have termed as ‘moral hazard’. Moral hazard refers to any situation where one person takes decisions about how much risk to take and someone else bears the cost if things go wrong. Insurance is an area where moral hazard is a common phenomenon. We are likely to take better care of an asset that is not insured, compared to an asset, which we have insured. Similarly, insurance of deposits encourages banks to take greater risks in investment. They enjoy higher returns on investments; whereas being insured, the tab for any losses is picked up by the insurance companies.


As often happens in governance, the impact of a policy, good or bad, manifests itself only after a lag, by which time the government may have changed and the costs are borne by the new occupant. Alan Greenspan was not around to pick up the tab for his eventually rather disastrous policies that were responsible for the financial crisis. Nor was the cost of the financial crisis paid by the bankers and the shareholders of banks, but by the public at large in the form of government bailout, which in itself has created significant moral hazard.


Choices we make now come back to haunt us later. Support for dictatorships at various times has reduced the credibility of the US. Going to war against Saddam Hussain, without sufficient proof of possession of chemical weapons, has turned a large part of the Muslim community against the US and the western countries. The current terrorist activities are, in some sense, an outcome of such policies. Lower savings may increase demand temporarily but the long-term impact will be reduced investments and inflation. Ignoring climatic concerns today jeopardises the future of the planet and our children. Pump priming by the government may help generate demand in the current recessionary conditions but comes back to bite later with higher inflation and unsustainable debt. One of the major reasons the world has not been able to recover completely, even eight years after the financial crisis, is the inability to deleverage and relying on politically palatable, loose monetary policy rather than tougher structural changes. 


Ultimately, the future of mankind will be determined by the choices we make. Do we continue to succumb to the easier and expedient policies or does humanity have the courage to abide by basic principles and values that may be a little inconvenient but have stood the test of time.


(This is the concluding part of a 2-part series by the author.)

Here is the first part that you may also want to read: 

Dilution of values: Has the wisdom lost its sanctity in economics?


CSIR launches ayurvedic anti-diabetic drug
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Monday launched its ayurvedic anti-diabetic drug BGR-34.
Aimed at managing type 2 diabetes, BGR-34 has been jointly developed by National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), both located in Lucknow.
"The modern diabetes drugs are known for side-effects and toxicity while BGR-34 works by controlling blood sugar and limiting the harmful effects of other drugs," said NBRIs' Senior Principal Scientist A.K.S. Rawat.
NBRI and CIMAP scientists studied nearly 500 ancient herbs listed in ayurvedic texts to zero in on daruharidra (Berberis aristata), giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), vijaysar (Pterocarpus marsupium), gudmar (Gymnema sylvestre), majeeth (Rubia cordifoila) and methika (Trigonella foenum-graecum) to make the anti-diabetic formulation.
Ayurvedic pharma compnay AIMIL Pharmaceuticals will commercially produce and distribute BGR- 34, which has been priced at Rs 5 and will be available widely across Karnataka and neighbouring states.
"BGR-34 is a unique product that manages the lives of human suffering diabetics. The product passed several battery of tests and showed hypoglycaemic activity in experimental subjects," said AIMIL Pharmaceuticals vice president Anil Kumar Sharma.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.




Narendra Doshi

4 months ago

When is it likely to be available in other states of India?

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