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India to have normal monsoon this year : IMD

Nirmesh Singh

New Delhi. 16 April 2018

India will have a normal monsoon this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.

“There is a maximum probability of 42 percent for normal monsoon and low probability of 14 percent for deficient rainfall, 30 per cent chances of a below normal precipitation, 12 per cent for above normal rainfall and 2 per cent chance for excess precipitation,” IMD Director General K G Ramesh told reporters while announcing the first official monsoon forecast for the year.

He also said, “the monsoon will be 97 per cent of long period average (LPA), which is normal for the season. The error margin in the forecast is plus/ minus 5 per cent”.

The monsoon is considered normal if the average rainfall is between 96 to 104 per cent of long period average. Rainfall below 90 percent means drought.

The four-month monsoon season from June to September provides about 75 per cent of the annual rainfall to the country, where GDP is still largely driven by the agriculture sector. It determines the yield of key crops such as rice, wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds such as soybeans. Agri sector accounts for about 15 percent of India’s $2 trillion economy but employs over half of the country’s population.

Rains are crucial for farmers as more than 50 percent of the cultivable farm area is unirrigated.

Hearing the forecast for normal monsoon, Union Agri secretary Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak said the country’s foodgrain production may surpass this year’s record high of 277.49 million tonne(MT).

The date of onset of monsoon will be announced in the middle of May. The IMD will come out with a second forecast for the 2018 monsoon rains in June.

Recently, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said that there was only 20 per cent chance of above normal monsoon rains, 20 per cent chance of below normal rains and zero per cent chance of a drought.