India's annual monsoon arrived on the Kerala coast on Monday, an official at the state-run weather office said, marking the start of the four-month rainy season that is crucial for the country's farm-dependent economy.
The monsoon delivers about 70% of India's annual rainfall.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) declares the arrival of monsoon rains only after parameters measuring consistency of rainfall over a defined geography, intensity, cloudiness and wind speed are satisfied.
Rains usually lash Kerala state, on India's southwest coast, from around June 1 and cover the whole country by mid-July. Timely rains trigger the planting of crops such as rice, soybeans and cotton.
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