After two consecutive drought years, the country will receive “above normal” monsoon with a fair distribution of rainfall across major parts of country and it will be a “good year”, the Met office predicted today, easing fears of struggling farmers.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said there are 94 per cent chances of country receiving “normal to above normal” rainfall while there is only 1 per cent probability of “deficient” rainfall.
The monsoon seasonal rainfall will be 106 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus 5 per cent. “Above normal” monsoon is between 104-110 per cent of the LPA and anything beyond 110 per cent of the LPA is considered as “excess”.
Responding to a question, Rathore told reporters that the drought-hit region of Marathwada and Bundelkhand will receive “good rainfall” this year.
“By and large, there will be a fair distribution of monsoon across the country. It will be a good year. During good monsoon conditions there still remain some pockets... which is North-East India, where slightly less than normal monsoon is expected. Also the South-East part of the Peninsula like Tamil Nadu and adjoining Rayalseema districts, may get slightly less than normal rainfall,” Rathore said.
“We are also expecting good month-wise quantitative distribution which may accentuate in the later half or the middle of the monsoon,” Rathore added.
IMD scientist D S Pai said the El Nino conditions are “weakening”, a phenomena that not only affected the monsoon last year, but also resulted in warmer winters.
“Analysis of previous data suggests that monsoon season rainfall over the country as a whole was deficient or below normal during 65 per cent of the El Nino years. However, during 71 per cent of the years followed by El Nino years, monsoon was normal and above.
“The latest forecast from the Monsoon Mission Coupled Climate Model indicates El Nino conditions to weaken to moderate to weak levels during the first half of the monsoon season and neutral conditions likely to get established thereafter,” Pai said.
Agriculture, which contributes 15 per cent to India’s GDP and employs about 60 per cent of the country’s population, is heavily dependent on monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Due to poor monsoon in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), 10 states have declared drought and the Centre has sanctioned relief package of about Rs 10,000 crore to help farmers.