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New Delhi: After facing monsoon failures for two years in a row, policymakers, farmers and everyone in between will be looking forward to this year’s forecast to be issued by the India Meteorological Department on Tuesday.
With the powerful 2015-16 El Niño on the decline, Met experts have already indicated that India may be finally headed for a good monsoon.
A good monsoon is crucial for India, where 44% of total food production is dependent on rain-fed farming and the June-September south-west monsoon brings 80% of annual rainfall.
The farm sector has experienced two years of low growth on account of two consecutive years of deficient monsoon rainfall, followed by lower than average winter rain. Normal monsoon could also improve agricultural incomes which would further benefit rural consumption, which has declined in the past two years.
“Whatever it is, we need to keep in mind that the less than normal crop season of the last two years have left our farmers exhausted and their resources are stressed,” agriculture secretary Shobhana K. Pattanayak said on Monday.
Last year’s monsoon saw a rainfall deficit of 14%, which was mainly attributed to El Niño, a weather phenomenon caused by unusual warming in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in atmospheric changes. The year before that, India recorded a monsoon rainfall deficit of 12%.
Eleven states declared a drought in the country after last year’s failed rains which have also led to depleting water levels in reservoirs.
Private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd on Monday forecast an above average monsoon at 105% of long-term average with a normal onset.
Sayantan Bera contributed to this story