The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday predicted ‘normal’ monsoon rains this year and said there was “very less probability” for 2018 to be a drought year.
Releasing its first forecast for the southwest monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said rainfall in June-September was projected at 97 per cent of the long period average (LPA), with a model error of plus and minus 5 per cent.
A normal monsoon will not only aid growth in the agricultural sector but could also have a positive impact on the rural economy ahead of crucial state elections, followed by the general election in 2019.
The monsoon will hit the country’s mainland in Kerala in last week of May or in first week of June. The IMD will, however, forecast the onset of monsoon in mid May.
This is for the third consecutive year that India will be having a normal monsoon, said K J Ramesh, director-general, IMD
“El Niño, generally associated with low rainfall, is expected to be weak during the start of the monsoon season in June. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), another critical factor influencing the monsoon, is also projected to be weak but will occur only at the later stages. Also, most global monsoon models are predicting ‘normal’ rainfall for India this year,” said K J Ramesh.
While the IMD’s prediction may send cheers for the economy at the outset, the arrival of the monsoon and distribution of rainfall are important factors. “See, 97% is a good top-line number. But it does not necessarily mean that it will lead to a higher output, though normally it would. But I think the more important part is, we’ve had very good crops the last two years, but farmers’ incomes have not gone up, which means we need to see how the MSP turns out to be,” said Madan Sabnavis.chief economist at CareRatings
The IMD forecast comes days after a similar prediction of ‘normal’ rainfall by the private weather forecast agency Skymet Weather which had on April 4 said that the Monsoon 2018 was likely to remain normal at 100% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the LPA for the four-month period from June to September.