With three months (Jun-Sep) out of the four-month monsoon season over—and rainfall at a 12% deficit of the long period average (LPA)—the worry lines are rising for farmers and the government. Lower rainfall leads to lower grain crop and, in turn, slower agricultural growth. That means lower income for farmers and reduced consumption. With GDP growth down at 7% against last year’s 7.5%, it remains to be seen how this plays out on the economy. Only two sub-divisions—West Rajasthan (54%) and Gangetic West Bengal (24%)—have had excess rainfall this year.
This is the second successive year that the monsoon has played truant. But it has happened before during 2000-02 and 2004-05. The worst deficit ever was at 21.8% in 2009 followed by 19.2% in 2002
Food inflation levels are directly linked to the rainfall deficit that year
India’s agricultural production is closely linked to the monsoon. In 2010, when rainfall was 2% over the LPA,
agricultural output grew 8.6%. A year before, it had slumped to 0.8% when the rains were down 21.8%
While 58% of the Indian landmass has received excess or normal rainfall this year, 18 of the country’s 36 sub-divisions have received deficient rainfall. Last year 12 sub-divisions received deficient rainfall. What this means is that while the rainfall deficit is almost the same, this time round, 50% more sub-divisions have received deficient rainfall