The commencement and termination of droughts in India are directly associated with the behavior of the southwest monsoon. India experienced severe droughts in at least 20 years of the past century and faced a drastic drop in food grains production. Due to various measures undertaken to mitigate droughts and to increase food grain production, India has not only become self-reliant but produces more than its requirements. Surplus production contributes to buffer stocks that are used to supplement food production during drought years. Nevertheless, its fodder is in short supply even in normal years. Because impact of the drought is greater on livestock than on humans, there is a need to strengthen fodder banks in rural areas to alleviate impacts on livestock.

The risk of crop production in drought-prone areas can be minimized by adopting alternate cropping strategies, efficient utilization of rain water through soil and water conservation measures, watershed development, runoff farming, and irrigation. For an early warning, the drought and crop surveillances should be carried out using short or medium range meteorological forecasts, remote sensing techniques, and computer models such as the SPAW, CERES-millet/rice/sorghum, and RANGETEK models combined with GIS capabilities for monitoring crop yields and agricultural drought. A drought monitoring system based on satellite data is currently operational in India; however, there is a need to thoroughly test its accuracy and improve its performance by including information provided by crop growth models and satellite data with a better resolution.

acknowledgments Dr. Pratap Narain, director, CAZRI, Jodhpur, provided the facilities and encouragement for writing this chapter. The assistance provided by A.S.R.'s wife, Indira, his daughter, Lakshmi Prashanthi, and his son, Murali Raj, is duly acknowledged.

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