NEW DELHI: In what could cheer up the distressed farm sector as well as lift the overall economic sentiment, the weather department on Monday said this year’s monsoon would be ‘normal’. This, in India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s parlance, means rainfall between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of the 50-year average (89 cm) during the four-month season, which runs from June to September. “The monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 97 per cent of the average with an error of 5 per cent,” the IMD forecast said.
This is for the third consecutive year that India will be having a normal monsoon, said K J Ramesh, director-general, IMD. “There is very less probability of a deficit monsoon. We’ll come out with the next assessment on May 15 about the onset of monsoon over Kerala,” he added. The forecast is good news for the agriculture sector which is heavily dependent on the monsoon rainfall for timely plantation of Kharif crops of rice, corn, cotton and soybean. Monsoon rainfall provides 75 per cent of annual rainfall to the country.
IMD said that both static and dynamic forecast modeling systems have been used to assess the monsoon.
The weather department will issue the update in early June as a part of the second stage forecast along with the updated forecast for four geographical regions and for the monthly rainfall. Kerala is the south-west monsoon’s first port of landfall in mainland India, where it starts around June 1. The southwest monsoon then advances over the Andaman Sea around May 20 with a standard deviation of one week.
Why good rains are crucial for Economy
Monsoon plays a critical role in deciding the direction of the economy as these seasonal showers determine the yield of key crops such as rice, wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds such as soybeans. The farm sector accounts for about 15 per cent of India’s $2 trillion economy and employs around half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.