NEW DELHI: In what could pose a big challenge to the Centre, the monsoon rains across the country are expected to be deficient this year, raising fears of drought and repercussions for the economy. The Met Department on Tuesday downgraded its earlier forecast for normal rainfall to deficit, due to the El Nino phenomenon. The Reserve Bank has also expressed concern over the deficit monsoon.
In its revised forecast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said rainfall across the country for the 2015 southwest monsoon season (June to September) is likely to be 88 per cent. In April, the IMD had forecast that monsoon rains would be 93 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), which is categorised as “below normal”.
The Union government has already swung into action with Prime Minister Narendra Modi closely monitoring the developments and directing ministries concerned to make necessary preparations and take action so that the common man is not affected. Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth held a meeting of top officials to discuss the situation and put in place necessary measures.
“The latest forecast is bothering me as the rainfall this monsoon is likely to be below normal to deficient at 88 per cent — plus or minus four per cent — of the normal (average) rainfall, which is down from 93 per cent in April,” said Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan.
The northwest region, which includes the country’s grain bowl states like Haryana and Punjab, will be the worst-affected as it is likely to receive just 85 per cent of normal rainfall. Rainfall is likely to be 90 per cent over Central India, 92 per cent over South peninsula and 90 per cent over the northeast region. The onset of monsoon has been delayed and it is now expected to reach Kerala by June 5. Earlier, the IMD had forecast May 30 as the date of onset of monsoon, compared to the usual June 1.