M A I N   N E W S

Met brings cheer, predicts normal monsoon this year
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, April 26
Farmers and administrators can heave a sigh of relief as the country is expected to receive “normal” rains for the fourth consecutive year
“I have very good news for farmers as well as others, the monsoon is likely to be normal this year,” Earth Sciences Minister S Jaipal Reddy today said, giving the India Meteorological Department’s first official forecast that confirmed predictions by global agencies.

Rains are expected to be 98 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) this time, Reddy said. Rains between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 cm are considered normal and the probability for this, as per the IMD, is highest — 46 per cent. The probability (27%) of rains being below normal (90-96% of LPA) is also higher but that of their being deficient (below 90% of LPA) or excess (above 110% of LPA) is also relatively low (10% and 3% respectively).

Last year, the rainfall was 92 % of the LPA for the country on the whole.

Of the total 36 meteorological subdivisions, 23 subdivisions constituting 67.3 % of the total area received excess/normal rainfall and remaining 13 subdivisions (32.7% of the total area) deficient precipitation. The last time the country saw a drought with rainfall below this range was in 2009 and before that in 2004.

Monsoon is crucial as 60 per cent of the country’s total cropped area is rain-fed. Besides, states like Maharashtra are facing the worst drought for the past four decades due to bad management of water resources. While the exact monsoon situation will only be clear in June, rains may let down some states in the South. Food Minister KV Thomas has said that overall rains will be “quite satisfactory” except perhaps in parts of the southern tip — Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The IMD will issue the exact arrival date around May 15 but generally monsoon arrives around June 1, which is when sowing of kharif (summer) crops like paddy starts. Normal rains augurs well for the agriculture sector-food grain and crops like sugarcane (sugar was recently decontrolled by the government).

Bountiful rains are something that the Congress-led UPA must also be earnestly praying for considering the immense political impact that the monsoon holds for the government in power. Apart from the general feeling of well being that good rains are able to generate among the people, monsoon is crucial for the agriculture sector, which contributes about 15 per cent to the country's GDP, as only 40 per cent of the total cultivable area is under irrigation.

Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounts for 17% of the GDP (2011 estimate), employ 52.1% of the total workforce, and despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, is still is largest economic sector and significant driver of the overall socio economic development.

Experts said a recent analysis of the variation of the GDP and monsoon revealed that the impact of severe droughts on GDP is about 2 to 5%. 

Good rain

  • Quantitatively, rains are likely to be 98% of the LPA with a model error of ± 5%
  • LPA of the season rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1951-2000 is 89 cm

I have very good news for farmers as well as others, the monsoon is likely to be normal this year.

— S Jaipal Reddy,  Earth Sciences Minister 






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