In good news for the farming community, this year's monsoon is expected to be normal, the India Meteorological Department said on Monday. The country will enjoy appropriate monsoon, which is associated with the absence of El Nino, a phenomenon that causes deficient rain and impacts the 'life-saving monsoon'. The agricultural sector accounts for 15 per cent of the $2 trillion Indian economy and supports two-thirds of the country's population. With many states of the country witnessing constant agriculture distress, the abundant rain will definitely bring cheers to the farming community.
The rain plays a crucial role in the agricultural sustainability as deficient or excessive rainfall can have damaging effects on crops, thereby affecting the country's agricultural production and rise in inflation.
The IMD has said the country will see a "normal rainfall", meaning it will be 97 per cent of long period average (LPA), and there's "very less" chance of a deficient rainfall. The department will announce the date of the onset of monsoon and the area-wise distribution of rainfall in mid-May.
KG Ramesh, IMD Director General, told reporters: "The forecast also suggests maximum probability for normal monsoon and low probability for deficient rainfall." He added that there can be an error margin of plus/minus 5 per cent in the observation.
The IMD report suggest there are around 14 per cent chance of a deficient rainfall while 30 per cent chance of a below normal precipitation. There department observed that there are highest 42 per cent chances that the rainfall will be normal. Besides, the probability of above normal rainfall is 12 per cent, while only 2 per cent chances of excess precipitation.
DS Pai, a scientist with the IMD, said the La Nina condition, which is associated with cooling of the equatorial Pacific waters, is weakening and is highly likely to enter a neutral phase. Ramesh also maintained that Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is negative and reducing. He added the neutral La Nina is not detrimental for the monsoon.
Besides, El Nino is associated with the warming of these waters. A positive IOD is associated with cooling of the equatorial waters of the Indian Ocean and a negative IOD is associated with the warming of these waters. These phenomena are one of the factors that impact the monsoon.
A good rainfall not just leads to heavy sowing of crops - rice, pulses and cotton - but strengthens the purchasing power in rural areas, affecting the urban economy in turn. The four-month monsoon season from June to September provides about 75 per cent of the annual rainfall to the country, where the GDP is still largely driven by the agriculture sector.
Since 2002, a drying trend has given way to a much wetter pattern, with stronger monsoons supplying much-needed rain, along with powerful, damaging floods, to the populous north central region of India.
On April 4, India's only private weather forecasting agency Skymet Weather had also said the monsoon is likely to be "normal" with little chance of drought and a 5 per cent probability of excess rains. The agency had said there was 20 per cent chance that monsoon would be normal.
With PTI inputs