Centre lowers monsoon forecast to ‘deficient’

Tomojit Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 02, 2015

Earth Sciences Minister, Harsh Vardhan


Let’s pray the revised forecast does not come true: Minister Harsh Vardhan

The south-west monsoon is expected to be deficient, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting that the country will receive only 88 per cent of the 50-year long period average of 89 cm against its earlier forecast of 93 per cent.

The IMD has attributed this to the El Nino phenomenon, caused by heating up of the eastern and central Pacific waters.

The south-west monsoon season, which runs from June to September, accounts for 70 per cent of India’s annual rainfall.

All you wanted to know about below normal monsoon

A deficient monsoon does not bode well for agriculture, with farmers already reeling from a poor Kharif season last year and damage to key Rabi crops following unseasonal rains and hailstorms between February and April. The sector grew a mere 0.2 per cent in 2014-15. Prices of essentials, including pulses, fruits and vegetables, are already up.

“Let’s pray to God that the revised forecast does not come true,” said Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan.

“The deficient rainfall is largely due to the negative impact of El Nino and persistent dry air in the atmosphere. There is a 90 per cent probability of El Nino … occurring during the monsoon season,” DS Pai, Director, Long Range Forecast, IMD, told BusinessLine. He added that the monsoon in Kerala, now slated for June 5, might not be strong.

While rainfall of less than 90 per cent of the LPA is considered a drought year, a senior Earth Sciences Ministry official said any such label was up to the Agriculture Ministry. “We are considering it a deficient year,” he said.

Low probability

The IMD-Indian Institute of Tropical Metrology model predicts only a 7 per cent probability of a normal monsoon. “Rainfall over the country is likely to be 92 per cent of its LPA during July and 90 per cent during August, both with a model error of ± 9 per cent,” the IMD said.

It is likely to be 85 per cent of the LPA in the north-west, 90 per cent in central India, 92 per cent over the southern peninsula and 90 per cent over the north-east.

“After a negative season last year, the overall balance sheet of essentials will be affected if there is deficient/uneven rainfall. Besides prices, sowing activity will be impacted,” said Vinita Advani Acharya, Senior Research Analyst, Geofin Comtrade.

Published on June 02, 2015
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