Economic Survey 2016: Repeat of El Nino unlikely, normal monsoon probable

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New Delhi | February 27, 2016 12:53 AM

Painting an optimistic picture, the Economic Survey 2015-16 on Friday stated that El Niño, which was mainly responsible for the deficient monsoon...

Painting an optimistic picture, the Economic Survey 2015-16 on Friday stated that El Niño, which was mainly responsible for the deficient monsoon for the last two consecutive years (2014 and 2015), is unlikely to repeat this year and there is a probability of normal monsoon rains.

However, the survey has cautioned that the La Nina phenomenon, which usually brings in rains, is unlikely to impact the next monsoon in its early phase. “That doesn’t, however, mean the monsoon is going to be bad, especially when all models are pointing to a very low probability of a repeat El Niño happening this year. The monsoon could also be good due to other favourable factors, such as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole,” the survey noted.

While suggesting to the government on the preparation of a contingency plan for the monsoon, especially after two successive drought years, the Survey suggested several measures including declaring the minimum support price (MSP) for crops like pulses well in advance.

Because of deficient monsoon rains, the country’s foodgrains production declined to 252 million tonne and 253 million tonne in 2014–15 and 2015–16, respectively, from a record production of 265 million tonne in 2013–14.

However, the Survey has noted that El Niño continues to be “strong” and is only gradually weakening. “It will enter neutral zone only with the onset of summer. The prolonged moisture stress from it has, in turn, impacted both the kharif as well as the rabi crop,” it noted.

Looking up
* The Survey has cautioned that La Nina, which usually brings rains, is unlikely to impact the next monsoon in its early phase, but this doesn’t mean the monsoon is going to be bad
* The monsoon could also be good due to other favourable factors, such as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole
* The Survey suggested measures including declaring the MSP for crops like pulses well in advance
* It has noted El Niño continues to be ‘strong’ and is only gradually weakening

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