India Prepares for Normal Monsoon Rainfall Again

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India Prepares for Normal Monsoon Rainfall Again

From farmers to corporate executives, politicians to policy makers and stock market analysts to economists, everyone's eyes are set on the first monsoon forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), to be posted on Tuesday.

"The forecast suggests that the monsoon rainfall during the 2017 monsoon season averaged over the country as a whole is likely to be 96 per cent, with a moderate error estimated at plus-minus five per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA)", IMD Director General K.J. Ramesh said at press conference here.

Meanwhile, the IMD had in its summer forecast for the season (March to May) predicted above normal' temperature across the country - at least up to June.

According to the department's latest assessment, the probability of El Nino developing around July-August this year has dropped to 40%.

India will have good distribution of rainfall this year, Ramesh said.

Monsoon rains deliver about 70 per cent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because almost half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.

The IMD said the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) in the current year.

IMD will update its forecast in the first week of June. The report had added that it was the third time in a decade that the IMD's prediction went wrong.

Despite last year's average rains, farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states in southern India and some parts of the western state of Maharashtra are still struggling with dry conditions due to patchy rains there.

Interestingly, Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, has predicted a "below normal rainfall" this year, with western India likely to experience a shortfall. Agriculture growth is estimated at 4.2% in 2016-17 and the country is expected a record food grain output of almost 272 million tonnes. Although the output had slightly increased to 253.16 in 2015-16 crop year, it was far below the total production during the normal monsoon year of 2013. "A normal monsoon will keep food inflation under control and if it is below normal it will be a problem for the economy".

India's southwest monsoon may be normal for a second year in 2017 as forecasters assess the likely impact of a possible El Nino. Skymet puts the chances of above-normal rain at 10 percent and predicts a 50 percent chance of normal rain.

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