Raising expectations of higher farm and economic growth in the country, the India Meteorological Department on Monday said that the Monsoon is likely to be “near normal” this year even as the risk of an El Nino weather pattern looms.
Annual rainfall during the June-September rainy season is likely to be 96 per cent of a long-term average, Rajeevan Nair, Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
According to the latest global forecasts, weak El Nino conditions have developed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean and they are likely to persist this summer. However, IMD officials have maintained that these conditions would weaken after summer.
The IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres for the entire four-month season beginning June.
Monsoon is critical to India’s agriculture as it accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s annual rainfall and fills reservoirs that help irrigate crops. It shapes the livelihood of millions and influences food prices. Deficient showers in the country, the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and cotton, often leads to lower crop output and higher imports of commodities like edible oils.