The country is expected to have normal monsoon this year with overall rainfall of 98 per cent, news that will bring smiles to millions of faces of farmers who depend on good rains for a bumper harvest.
"I have very good news for farmers. As per Indian Meteorological Department's long range forecast, this year South West monsoon is most likely to be normal," Earth Sciences and Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy said.
This is the fourth straight year that the government has forecast normal monsoon.
Reddy said there was 46 per cent probability of a normal monsoon as against 27 per cent probability of below normal rains this season.
"Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall is likely to be 98 per cent of the long period average (LPA) with a model error of five per cent," he said, in news that could pep up the spirit of corporate India too.
Monsoon is crucial for the kharif crops such as rice, soyabean, cotton and maize because almost 60 per cent of the farm land in the country is rainfed.
El Nino, an ocean current which influences the monsoon pattern in India, is also neutral and "not going to have any adverse affect on the monsoon circulation," DG of IMD L S Rathore said.
Asked about the monsoon forecast for states facing drought like condition, Rathore said though they were not talking about the regional aspects of rainfall distribution as of now, "we are hopeful that monsoon is going to be normal over that part of India".
He said they could take an exact call in June and added the date for onset of monsoon would be announced in mid-May.
South West monsoon steered the country away from a drought last year thanks to rainfall picking up in August and the first half of September. The country had received 92 per cent rainfall, seven per cent less than the forecast.
Food Minister K V Thomas had earlier also said South Western Monsoon is expected to be "satisfactory", except in the southern tip of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
He noted that food production will be comfortably good in the coming year and wheat production will be as it was in the last year.