New Delhi: Nearly half of India has received normal rainfall as the first month of monsoon nears an end, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, 49% of the country had received normal rainfall, 17% had received excess rainfall and 34% had got deficient or scanty rain.

While rainfall deficiency had narrowed to 13% of the long-period average (LPA) on 28 June from 25% on 16 June, parts of central India such as Maharashtra and east Madhya Pradesh are still facing a deficit.

Central Maharashtra and Vidarbha have so far recorded a rainfall deficit of 34% and 29%, respectively, even though the monsoon has advanced over the state. The shortfall in East Madhya Pradesh stood at 22% as of Tuesday.

“Distribution of rainfall in pulse-growing states is uneven, with pockets of significant deficiency. This is a cause for concern given the elevated price pressure in pulses. The government has taken steps to incentivise pulse and oilseed production through higher support prices to farmers; however, rains remain a crucial factor," said a research report by Standard Chartered on Tuesday, adding that oilseeds and cotton will also take a hit due to deficient rainfall in June.

Met department officials, however, have forecast a pick-up in rainfall in several parts of India in early July. Normal to above-normal rainfall is likely over central and peninsular India till 10 July and is likely to increase over east India and north-east India from 1 July.

State-run India Meteorological Department had in an earlier bulletin said that fairly widespread rainfall is likely over north-west India from 26 June to 10 July 2016.

“Last couple of days saw good monsoon activity in Maharashtra and the eastern region. Main problem in June has been Maharashtra, particularly central Maharashtra, where because of lack of rainfall, we had warned farmers to not begin sowing. But with another system brewing, we can expect good rainfall around 29 June in the four districts where sowing could not start. The rainfall will be especially helpful for cotton, soyabean, rice, and pulses," said N. Chattopadhyay, deputy director general of the agricultural meteorology division at IMD, Pune.

In the southern peninsula rainfall has been 16% above average and in north-west India it has been 2% more than the norm. However, central India, east and north-east India have seen a deficit of 23% and 26%, respectively.

According to private weather forecaster Skymet, conditions are likely to change as a low pressure area has already formed over west central and adjoining north-west Bay of Bengal, off south Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh.

“Due to this low pressure area, fairly widespread moderate rains have already lashed coastal Andhra Pradesh during the last 24 hours. This system is expected to travel in a western and north-western direction," Skymet said on its website.

On Tuesday, heavy to very heavy rain was recorded at places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Konkan, Goa and coastal Karnataka. There will be rainfall in south Gujarat, central Maharashtra, Marathwada, Telangana, Assam, Meghalaya and Andaman & Nicobar Islands on Wednesday.

“While June could still end with a marginal rainfall deficit, if rainfall remains adequate as forecast in July and August, it could provide much-needed support for growth and inflation. Close to 60% of rainfall and crop sowing happens in July and August," added Standard Chartered in its report.

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