The delay in the arrival of southwest monsoon and the projections of a below-normal rainfall seem to have become a concern for the agriculture sector. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast says that the monsoon will hit the Kerala coast on June 5 . The margin of error has been fixed at +/- 4 days and it implies that the monsoon could start on any date between June 1 and 9. In 2013, it had started raining on June 1. Southwest monsoon is a vital determinant of food inflation in the second half of the year and is crucial for a good Kharif harvest.
An IMD report on Monday said over the next 3-4 days conditions would turn favourable for the onset of monsoon across Kerala and its further advance to parts of south of Arabian Sea, parts of Maldives-Comorin area, parts of Tamil Nadu and Bay of Bengal and northeastern states.
However, Skymet, a private forecaster, has said that most of the conditions for the onset of monsoon have been met. According to Skymet, heavy showers have already started in parts of Kerala since May 28. But by June 1 its intensity dipped. "Its further progress is likely to be staggered and slow," said G. P. S. Sharma of Skymet.
Fears of drought linger as projections point to below normal rainfall and the possibility of El Nino. In its first forecast, the IMD had said that the monsoon will be 95 per cent of the Long-Period Average (LPA), the average rainfall received over the last 50 years. Skymet had earlier indicated that it will be 94 per cent of the LPA.
The IMD had predicted that there is a 35 per cent chance that the monsoon could be normal and 33 per cent chance that it would be below normal. There is also a 23 per cent likelihood of drought. These forecasts will be updated in June. The progress of southwest monsoon will also decide the fate of textile industry as cotton crops across the country are dependent on rainfall.