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Photo: HT
Photo: HT

More rain in store, predicts IMD

  • Most regions have received normal to excess rainfall this year, officials at IMD said
  • Rainfall has been 7% more than normal this year

India is likely to see a prolonged monsoon this year with above normal rainfall in September, which may boost foodgrain output and replenish reservoirs for the winter crop, in a rare positive for the economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most regions have received normal to excess rainfall this year, officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday, adding there are indications of a prolonged monsoon. While parts of Rajasthan will start seeing monsoon withdrawal from the second half of September, Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka are likely to see above normal rain.

“We have indicated in our weekly weather update that withdrawal of monsoon may begin from western parts of Rajasthan in the week to 18 September. But we are also expecting a low-pressure area to develop over west central Bay of Bengal around that time. While withdrawal of monsoon may begin, we are still studying as to when it’s likely to completely withdraw. We are expecting normal to above normal rain in Kerala, Karnataka and coastal areas of Maharashtra around and after 17 September," M. Mohapatra, director general, IMD, said at a virtual briefing.

“There is indication of a prolonged monsoon. But if we look at some parts, the monsoon is showing signs of retreating. We will continue to monitor the situation," a weather department official said.

In its first long-range forecast released in April, IMD had said monsoon was expected to be normal across the country. There has been 7% more than normal rain this year. The southwest monsoon this year was above normal in June and August, while it was below normal in July. August had 27 days which were low-pressure days. This year, the monsoon hit the Kerala coast on 1 June, which was the predicted date and covered the entire country by 26 June.

Ample rainfall during monsoon is crucial for farmers, as it waters more than half of the country’s farmlands that lack assured irrigation. A good harvest helps in containing inflation.

The finance ministry’s monthly economic report released on Friday said despite a 23.9% on-year contraction in the India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in April-June, agricultural sector emerged as a ‘bright spot’ at 3.4% growth.

“The cumulative monsoon rainfall was 9.2% above the long-period average (LPA) up to 2 September. Record total area sown under kharif crops and healthy live storage in major reservoirs bodes well for rabi. Kharif harvest in the third quarter contributes to almost one-third of the GVA (gross value added) in agriculture," the report said, adding that a bumper kharif harvest will provide the much needed boost to the GDP in the current fiscal.

Care Ratings said favourable monsoon, record kharif sowing and high reservoir levels are a relief for the farm sector. “High reservoir levels will bode well for the winter crops. This will favour the agriculture sector...as well as rural income that could push up rural demand. This will be a silver lining for growth as other sectors have seen adverse impact of covid," the ratings agency said in a report on Monday.

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