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No worry over monsoon, assures government

The monsoon was only marginally below average and there was no cause for worry, a top official said today, allaying fears that deficit rainfall would impact on agricultural output and inflation.

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2011 16:25 IST

The monsoon was only marginally below average and there was no cause for worry, a top official said Thursday, allaying fears that deficit rainfall would impact on agricultural output and inflation.

"The status of the monsoon is not a cause of worry, It will be more or less as predicted," Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary Shailesh Nayak told IANS.

The monsoon plays a key role in India's rain-fed agriculture.

According to the latest forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which comes under the ministry of earth sciences, the monsoon will be 95% of the long term average. This is marginally short of the defined normal, which is 96 to 104% of the long term average.

The first forecast of the monsoon done in April, however, had said the average rainfall would be 98% of the long term average.

"Another forecast will be made in July. There will not be much difference from the original forecast," the secretary said.

In 2010, India saw good monsoon with 102% of long term average rainfall. The abundance of rainfall was attributed to La Nina, a phenomena occurring in the southern Pacific ocean related to the cooling of the ocean.

According to IMD officials, La Nina is now in a neutral zone, making it ineffective for the Indian monsoon.

However, there could be deficit rainfall if La Nina changes to El Nino, another phenomenon in the Pacific ocean. This was demonstrated in 2009, which saw the worst drought in three decades with rainfall being 28% below the long term average.

The secretary affirmed that there was no need to fear.

"Some areas may be deficit, others will have good rain. That happens every year," Nayak said. "The short term and seasonal rains are good."

He added that weather forecasts had become more accurate with the latest computing systems being installed.

"The weather forecast now is more accurate than before. Also, the warning systems for cyclone and tsunami are more accurate than ever before."