India predicted to receive normal monsoon rains

Apr 26, 2013
Villagers paddle their boat near submerged houses in a village near Kaziranga National Park on September 27, 2012. India will receive normal monsoon rains this year, the government said on Friday, boosting prospects of a stronger performance this year by Asia's third-largest economy.

India will receive normal monsoon rains this year, the government said on Friday, boosting prospects of a stronger performance this year by Asia's third-largest economy.

The pounding rains that sweep across the continent from June to September are dubbed the "economic lifeline" of , which is one of the world's leading producers of rice, sugar, wheat and cotton.

"The southwest for the country is most likely to be normal," said Science Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

"The monsoon rainfall is likely to be 98 percent with a margin of error of five percent," he added.

But in the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu may be delayed or could be below normal levels, government officials said.

More than 70 percent of Indians depend on farm incomes, and at least 60 percent of the nation's farms lack irrigation, meaning they depend entirely on the rains that fall in intense bursts over the wet season.

Last year, India got below-normal rain in the first half of the June to September wet season. The rains picked up in some areas later, but large areas of west and south India did not benefit.

The rains are crucial this year for central parts of the western state of Maharashtra, India's biggest sugar-producer, which is reeling from the worst drought in over four decades.

The southern state of Andhra Pradesh is also parched.

India's weather department defines normal monsoon as seasonal rainfall between 96 percent and 104 percent of the long-term, or 50-year, average.

The Congress-led national government's hopes of over six percent economic growth this financial year—up from an estimated decade low of five percent last year—hinge on India receiving a normal monsoon.

A good monsoon is particularly vital for the government this year ahead of the general elections in 2014 as it struggles to kickstart economic growth in the country of 1.2 billion people.

Agriculture contributes about 15 percent to the nation's gross domestic product but the livelihood of hundreds of millions of Indians living in rural areas depend on the farming sector.

Memories remain fresh of India's devastating drought in 2009 that came despite the meteorological department's predictions of a normal monsoon.

The drought, the worst in nearly four decades, sent food prices rocketing and caused huge hardship for the country's poor.

Explore further: Critters found in Antarctic ice shows how tenacious life is

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India's monsoon seen picking up in July

Jul 01, 2012

India's crucial monsoon rains should pick up in July after a slow start over vast swathes of the country, which has threatened crops from rice to sugar, forecasters said.

Bangladesh monsoon rains 'lowest since 1994'

Oct 06, 2010

Bangladesh has experienced its driest monsoon season for more than a decade despite heavy rains in neighbouring India and Pakistan that caused flooding, officials said Wednesday.

Millions of Indians facing worst drought in decades

Mar 06, 2013

Millions of people in western India are suffering their worst drought in more than four decades, with critics blaming official ineptitude and corruption for exacerbating the natural water shortage.

Recommended for you

Image: Aral Sea from orbit

2 hours ago

This multitemporal Sentinel-1A radar image shows the Aral Sea, located on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

IceBridge overflies Norwegian camp on drifting sea ice

5 hours ago

Studying sea ice in the Fram Strait, a passage between Greenland and Svalbard that is the main gateway for Arctic sea ice into the open ocean, is not easy. In this area, not only does ice flow southward quickly ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.