With the timely onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala, the rainy season has officially begun in India. However, it is only the sixth time since independence that the country has witnessed on-time arrival of the monsoon. Most parts of the country receive 70-90 per cent of the annual rainfall during the four-month summer monsoon season which stretches between June 01 and September 30.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in May announced new dates for the onset and withdrawal of monsoon for regions and states. The dates, however, remained same for the country overall with onset on June 1 and withdrawal on October 15.
It is only in 1957, 1980, 1982, 2000, 2013 and the ongoing 2020 that the monsoon hit Kerala on the normal date, that is, June 1. There were 11 early onset years in over seven decades when the monsoon arrived in Kerala before May 25, and it got delayed almost 11 times during this period, going beyond June 7, including last year when the rain Gods smiled on June 8. The extreme dates (early or delayed) of onset over Kerala were May 14, 1960 and June 19, 1972, during last 73 years.
Over the past 15 years between 2005 and 2019, IMD always predicted correctly the monsoon arrival dates over Kerala barring 2015.
This year, the weather department has predicted a normal monsoon with rainfall activity to be 102 per cent of long period average (LPA) versus 109 per cent last year. The rainfall range (% of LPA) between 96 and 104 is considered normal and 104-110, above normal.
Meanwhile, the government has raised the minimum support price for kharif crops by 3 per cent for rice and 3-7 per cent for other crops, which is modest and similar to last year's hike. "Note that while the MSP is effective in rice, it is not necessarily so for other crops as procurement is low. Given the stable MSP hike and international food prices, we believe nominal farm incomes are likely to remain more or less stable in FY21, despite COVID-19 outbreak," says an Edelweiss Securities report.