“Factoring in the expectation that monsoon rainfall would be around 96% of the LPA, our baseline expectation is that growth of agricultural GVA would moderate from above 4% in FY2017 to around 3.6% in FY2018. Notwithstanding the modest contribution of agriculture to the overall GDP, the monsoon outlook would have some impact on consumption sentiment, both for consumer non-durables and big-ticket items such as agri inputs, motorcycles, tractors etc,” Aditi Nayar, principal economist at Icra, said.
According to IMD director general KJ Ramesh, there is a relatively moderate possibility of El Nino conditions developing over the equatorial Pacific during the second half of the monsoon months (June-September). Although all monsoon deficit years witnessed El Nino conditions, the IMD noted that no one-to-one relationship has been established between the phenomenon and the Indian monsoon.
The Met department also said that forecast assessment suggested “38% probability for near-normal monsoon rainfall” this year but when asked whether this indicated higher chances of deficit rainfall, Ramesh said, such assumptions were premature.
With two consecutive years of deficient monsoon (2014 and 2015), foodgrain production went down to 252 mt each in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years, from 265 mt reported in 2013-14.
The IMD’s monsoon categories are as follows: Deficient (below 90% of LPA), below normal (90-96%), normal (96-104%), above normal (104-110%) and excess (above 110% of LPA). LPA is calculated on the basis of the average annual rainfall (89 cm) recorded between 1951 and 2000.
The Met department will issue the second-stage forecast in early June. Along with the second forecast, separate forecasts for the monthly (July and August) rainfall over the country as a whole and seasonal (June-September) rainfall over the four geographical regions of India will also be issued.
The monsoon rains are crucial for kharif crops like paddy, pulses and oilseeds. Around 55% of the country’s farmland are rain-fed. The monsoon rains also helps in boosting the soil moisture for the rabi crop.