The four-month-long (June-September) southwest monsoon came to an end on Friday with India Meteorological Department (IMD) stating that overall rainfall across the country had been 3% below the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA) and so in ‘normal’ category. Rainfall in the 96-104% range of LPA is considered normal.
In the last two years, the country had received ‘deficient’ monsoon rains.
The quantum of rainfall received during monsoon session was below the IMD’s earlier prediction of cumulative rains of 106% of LPA. Met officials said the monsoon has not withdrawn entirely from the north region which is about two weeks behind the schedule. “Heavy to very heavy rain is expected over Vidarbha, north Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Konkan & Goa and Telangana,” the Met department stated in its prediction for the next couple of days.
As per the IMD data, the volume of rainfall during June 1-September 30 has been more than 862 millimetre (mm) which is 3% less than the LPA. About 13% of the area across the country has got ‘excess’ rainfall while 72% area has received ‘normal’ rainfall. Only 13% of the areas have received ‘deficient’ rainfall.
With the exception of Punjab, Gujarat region and coastal Karnataka where rainfall has been ‘deficient’, most of the regions across the country have so far received ‘normal’ or ‘excess’ monsoon rains.
Mainly attributed to widespread monsoon rains this year, the country’s kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to increase by around 9% to record 135.03 million tonne (MT) in the ongoing season in comparison to the previous year. According to the first advance estimate of kharif crops — rice, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane for the crop year 2016-17 released last week by the agriculture ministry, there would be record output of rice and pulses besides production of most of other kharif crops would be higher than last year. Experts say that the higher output of pulses will help soften retail prices, which witnessed a spike earlier this year.
The agriculture ministry has set the country’s grain production target at a record 270.10 MT for the 2016-17 crop year, up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 MT in 2015-16.
Earlier, IMD had stated that rainfall during monsoon season (June-September) would be ‘above normal’ at 106% of LPA following two successive years of ‘deficient’ monsoon (2014 and 2015). However, the Met department recently revised downward the monsoon forecast to ‘normal’ level due to delay in the onset of La Nina phenomenon.
IMD puts monsoon rains under four categories — <90% of benchmark (deficient), 90-96% (below normal), 96-104% (normal), 104-110% (above normal) and 110%> (excess).