Monsoon rains pick up pace but outlook is still cloudy

Jul 18 2014, 09:01 IST
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Monsoon covers country, rainfall deficit down to 36% Monsoon covers country, rainfall deficit down to 36%
SummaryMonsoon covers country, rainfall deficit down to 36%

rainfall could impact the output adversely, bucking the trend of bumper grain production in the last two years. The Economic Survey 2013-14, however, said there appeared to be no cause for alarm of the El Nino impact as the country was well-placed on foodgrain availability front with huge stocks in the central pool.

According to Dun & Bradstreet, both wholesale price and retail inflation are likely to remain in the range of 5.2-5.4% and 7.4-7.6%, respectively, for July. After rising to a five-month high in May, WPI inflation slowed to 5.43% in June, while retail inflation dropped to its lowest since January 2012 to 7.31% last month.

Although delayed by two days this year, monsoon rains still covered the country at a faster pace after hitting the Kerala coast, from where it enters the mainland, five days later than the ideal date of June 1. Still, so far, only 20% of the country has received normal rainfall while 54% and 26% of the regions have received deficit and scanty rainfall, respectively, which is expected to change for the better, said government officials.

The June-September monsoon season brings around 70% of showers and is crucial to summer planting as more than 60% of the country’s farmland is rain-fed. In June, the IMD had forecast that monsoon rains this year would be 93% of the long-period average, with a 33% probability of deficient monsoon rains and 70% chances of a recurrence of El Nino. It had forecast the worst deficit in rainfall (15%) for the northwestern region this year. The IMD defines 96-104% of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres as normal rainfall and below 90% as deficient.

However, the silver lining is that the northwestern regions, which have witnessed 49% rainfall deficit so far, are usually less affected by a drought than most other parts of the country due to good irrigation facilities.

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