The Met Department is expecting a normal south-west monsoon this year which augurs well for the country's agriculture sector and economy as a whole.
"IMD (India Meteorological Department) is expecting a normal monsoon as on today. But it (IMD) prefers to wait till the first week of May for the correct picture," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said after a meeting with the IMD officials here.
He said all four different weather models from different countries show normal monsoon for India.
The first monsoon forecast for the June-September period of this year will be officially released on April 26, IMD Chief L S Rathore said.
South-west monsoon begins from June, when sowing of Kharif (summer) crops like paddy are undertaken.
Yesterday, private firm Skymet had projected south-west monsoon to be adequate and well distributed.
Sufficient rainfall is required in Maharasthra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan this year as these states are reeling under drought. The situation is alarming especially in Maharasthra, where drinking water and fodder availability is insufficient.
Noting that Maharasthra situation is really bad, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna had yesterday said: "Area under sugarcane in Maharasthra is obviously going to be down. Cane area is mainly irrigated. Dams in some parts of the state are dry and sowing will depend on monsoon."
On monsoon, Bahuguna had said: "Weather plays a role but over time we have become slightly resilient to weather.
So, I am not overly worried about bad weather (monsoon)."
Monsoon rains are crucial for the agriculture sector, which contributes about 15 per cent to the country's GDP, as only 40 per cent of the total cultivable area is under irrigation.