Monsoon kept its date with the country, as the annual downpour hit Kerala on Monday, much to the relief of farmers and policy-makers.
"It rained in most parts of Kerala. And the monsoon clouds are expected to cover coastal Karnataka in a day," said K Santosh, director, Thiruvananthapuram Meteorological Centre. Conditions were favourable for further advancement of the monsoon into coastal Karnataka, Goa and the western countryside, he added.
The Met office, meanwhile, predicted a normal monsoon this year.
The news came on a day the government announced that GDP growth for 2009-10 was higher than expected at 7.4 per cent, against the projected 7.2 per cent. Growth in the fourth quarter of the last financial year touched 8.6 per cent, indicating that the economic recovery witnessed during the middle of the last year was gathering momentum.
A good monsoon this year will boost rural demand — a huge component of overall domestic demand in India — and accelerate this trend.
"A normal monsoon will be good for the rice, sugarcane and pulses, and will help the farming sector offset some of last year's losses," said L. Girija Devi, head of the department of agricultural meteorology, College of Agriculture, Thiruvananthapuram.
Kerala, in particular, has another reason to celebrate, as the arrival of monsoon boosts tourism.
Anticipating good rainfall this year, most resorts and spas have already been booked.
"Kerala is no longer a seasonal destination. Since the tourism industry started offering special schemes during the monsoons, it has become an all-season getaway," said state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.