M A I N   N E W S

Drought fears real: Rains likely to be 15% deficient
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Three months after it raised hopes of a normal monsoon, the weather office has now officially conceded that the crucial season rains would be 15% deficient this season, the first indication of a drought in three years.

The monsoon scenario is expected to look up in August, but poor rainfall is foreseen in September on account of the warming of the central Pacific Ocean, known as the El Nino phenomenon, the IMD said in its latest update.

“We expect monsoon to be 15% deficient than the long period average (LPA), which is 89 cm,” India Meteorological Department director General LS Rathore said, backtracking from his earlier “all-will-be-well statements”. “In August, we are hoping for a better rainfall scenario. But there will be some problem in the terminal part of the monsoon,” he said.

The country received 20% less rains than normal since the delayed onset of the monsoon in June. Till yesterday, the country received 378.8 mm rainfall against the normal of 471.4 mm.

A country-wide drought is declared when the monsoon rains are less than 90% of the LPA and at least 20% area of the country experiences deficient showers of 25% or more. It is for the states to declare drought in their districts

While August may bring some cheer, a question mark looms over rainfall in September as El Nino conditions appear set to turn unfavourable for the country, the IMD said.

The central Pacific Ocean is expected to experience warming of the sea surface temperature by 0.5° to 0.7°Celsius. An IMD statement said El Nino conditions were building up in the equatorial Pacific with sea surface temperature (SST) rise of 0.5°Celsius observed over much of the recent two weeks. El Nino conditions are likely to adversely impact rainfall during the second half of the monsoon season. Paddy cultivation would not be affected, but conditions are worrisome for production of coarse cereals. Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra, Marathwada and interior Karnataka are the areas of concern and the IMD’s flip-flop over the monsoon has again raised a question mark on the efficacy of their long-range predictions.

In recent times, the country faced drought in 2009 and 2002. In 2002, rainfall deficiency for June-September season was 19 per cent while in 1918 it was 28 per cent.

Since its delayed onset in June, the south west monsoon has been 11 per cent deficient in the North-East, 35 per cent deficient in the Northwest, 15 per cent deficient in central India and 23 per cent deficient in the southern peninsula. The country as a whole has received 374.1 mm rainfall as against the normal of 461.7 mm, a deficiency of 19 per cent.

Montek pulls down growth to 6%

Deficient monsoon is likely to pull down the economic growth in the current fiscal to about 6 per cent, from 6.5 per cent a year ago, Planning Commission Deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Friday.





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