Across the country rains in June and July — a crucial time for farmers — were nearly 20 per cent below normal.
"Now some of the crop is so dry and damaged even our cattle won't eat it," says farmer Mahinder Singh, as he watches over the cleaning up of his sugar cane fields.
Punjab has received less than 40 per cent of the rain it should have. Large swaths of western Gujarat and Maharashtra have been declared drought-stricken.
The government has said it's not worried about food scarcity because millions of tons of rice and wheat from earlier bumper harvests are spilling out of state-owned granaries.
But for the average farmer, who lives and earns from season to season, a poor monsoon means that food must be carefully rationed because he has little money to spend.
With dreams of a good harvest, most small- and medium-scale farmers borrow money, often at exorbitant interest rates, from local money lenders to buy seeds and fertilizers and hire tractors to plow the fields.
Image: In this Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 photo, an Indian man stands with the herd of his cattle near Bagodara, about 75 kilometers west of Ahmedabad.