New Delhi: For the NDA government, which is facing the heat of opposition parties over farmer-related issues, the relief has come from India Meteorological Department (IMD) as the national weather forecaster has predicted 'normal' monsoon rains during June-September period.
The IMD prediction is set to prove a major relief for the government as better rainfall distribution may help the government in achieving a fresh record in agriculture production output by surpassing this year's record high of 277.49 million tonnes (MT).
It's worth mentioning that southwest monsoon is the lifeline of India's agriculture as well as the overall economy as over 50 per cent of the country's population is dependent on farming and about 15 per cent of the GDP comes from agriculture and allied sectors.
While releasing the monsoon prediction, IMD Director-General KG Ramesh said, "Monsoon 2018 is likely to remain normal at 97 per cent (with an error margin of +/-5 per cent) of the long period average (LPA) for the four-month period from June to September."
Ramesh further said that there was "very less probability" of a deficient monsoon and the date of onset of monsoon would be announced in the middle of May. The IMD chief assured that the country would not face deficient rainfall during monsoon season this year.
Notably, the monsoon is considered normal if the average rainfall is between 96 to 104 per cent of long period average, while anything less than 90 per cent of LPA is termed a 'deficient' monsoon, and 90-96 per cent of the same is considered 'below normal'.
According to IMD, there is 42 per cent possibility of normal rainfall and 12 per cent possibility of above normal rainfall - it means there are good chances of normal rainfall in the country. Monsoon will hit the country's mainland in Kerala either in last week of May or in the first week of June.
Forecast on the distribution of rainfall and prediction on monthly rains for July, August, and September would be made by the IMD in early June.
This is the third consecutive year when the IMD predicted normal monsoon rains for the country. India had 95 per cent of the LPA rainfall last year — as against the first forecast of 96 per cent of the LPA (with an error margin of +/- 5 per cent). The country had faced deficient rains during monsoon season in 2015 and 2014, making both these years drought years.
Buoyant over the IMD prediction, Agriculture Secretary SK Pattanayak said, "The normal monsoon would boost kharif sowing that will start from June. We expect foodgrain output to surpass this year's record."
"There would be a slight deficiency of monsoon rains in southern peninsular and northeastern parts for a month, but that would be recovered. The normal monsoon forecast augurs well for agriculture and the overall economy," Pattanayak said.
Commenting on the IMD forecast, Ganesh Nanote, a Vidarbha region farmer, said, "It's a cheerful moment for farmer's community as most of the agriculture is dependent on monsoon rainfall. Better rain rainfall would translate into bumper production."
"The IMD prediction is enough to believe that God is with us. So the respective governments at the Centre and states should also start taking decisions in the larger interest of farmers," Nanote added.