The weather department said on Thursday crucial monsoon rains were expected to hit Kerala in four-five days, with 96% chances of the rainfall being normal to excess.
Releasing the second long-range forecast, India Meteorological Department director general Laxman Singh Rathore said northwest India will receive 108% rainfall of the Long Period Average while central India and southern peninsula will receive 113% of LPA.
The monsoon delivers 70% of India’s annual rainfall. It is critical for the country’s 263 million farmers and their rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean crops because nearly half of its farmland lacks irrigation.
Bumper rains can spur farm and economic growth and boost rural demand for gold, cars, motorcycles, refrigerators and fertiliser. Two-thirds of India’s population depends on farming for its livelihood.
Plentiful rains could also encourage the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this month eased its repo rate by 25 basis points to its lowest in more than five years.
A normal or average monsoon means rainfall between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 89 cm during the four-month season from June.
Two straight years of drought in India - for only the fourth time in over a century - have sparked anger among farmers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.