The southwest monsoon is likely to activate over Andamans by Saturday, after over a week’s delay, and reach Kerala in its four-month journey across India on May 31, a senior Met official said.
Since a good monsoon not only affects key sectors of the economy, inflation and income, but also offers relief from a harsh summer, it is widely awaited by virtually every Indian - from farmers to policymakers."The delay in onset of Andamans is unlikely to impact its arrival in Kerala on May 31," YEA Raj, the deputy Met chief, told HT over phone from Chennai on Thursday.
The monsoon is the only source of irrigation for 60% farms in India, the world’s second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton. It impacts the livelihoods of two-thirds of the population, who depend on farm income.
The Met had forecast a normal monsoon on April 18 for the second straight year, boosting prospects of key summer
crops and offering respite to a government fighting high food costs in Asia's third-largest economy.
According to forecast, the June-September rains are likely to be 98% of the long-period average of 50 years. Falls between 96% and 104% are considered normal.
“A 4% farm growth, dependent on good monsoon, is consistent with about 9% overall growth,” the Planning Commission in-charge of agriculture Abhijit Sen said.
However, a normal monsoon alone is not enough for good farm output, which depends also on how timely and evenly spread the summer rains are.
“We do not expect any delay in monsoon’s onset over mainland India,” GC Debnath, Met's director of forecasts told HT over phone from Kolkata.
Poor rains can toughen the fight against food inflation, which rose 8.55% in the year to May 14, compared to a 7.47% rise a week ago.