NEW DELHI, July 26 (Reuters) - India will convene its specialist panel of ministers on drought early next week to review the monsoon situation, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said, the first time since the drought year of 2009 as this year's rains fall below average.
In 2009, Asia's third-largest economy faced its driest monsoon season in nearly four decades and had to turn to international markets for sugar, sending prices soaring.
"An (empowered group of ministers) on drought is likely to meet on Tuesday, but I am seeking the availability of other ministers," Pawar told reporters on Thursday. "We will discuss the situation there."
The current monsoon season is 22 percent below average so far with the Prime Minister's Office already downgrading the weather office forecast of an average monsoon to below average.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)