New Delhi: In news that could bring relief to parched regions of the country, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday forecast an 'above normal' Monsoon in 2016.
Releasing the Monsoon forecast for the season, IMD director-general Laxman Singh Rathore told a press briefing that the Monsoon this is year is going to be above normal.
“More or less, Monsoon 2016 is expected to be good,” Rathore stated.
"Monsoon will be 106 percent of the long period average (LPA). There is 94 percent probability that Monsoon will be normal to excess this year. By and large, there will be fair distribution of Monsoon across the country. But Northeast India and South-East India, particularly Tamil Nadu, may get slightly less than normal rainfall," he said.
Drought-hit Marathwada is also likely to receive "good" rainfall, Rathore added.
He, however, stated that temperatures before the onset of Monsoon are going to be above normal.
An above-average Monsoon would ease fears over agriculture and economic growth after two straight droughts hit rural incomes and farm output.
Agriculture, which contributes 15 percent to India's GDP and employs about 60 percent of the country's population, is heavily dependent on the Monsoon as only 40 percent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Due to poor Monsoon in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), 10 states have declared drought and the Centre has sanctioned relief package of about Rs 10,000 crore to help farmers.
The Monsoon rains are expected to be above average as the El Nino weather pattern, which can lead to dry spells in South Asia, is gradually fading and giving way to La Nina.
Anything less than 90 percent of the LPA is termed as a "deficient" Monsoon and 90-96 percent of the LPA is considered as "below normal". Monsoon is considered as "normal" if the LPA is between 96-104 percent of the LPA.
"Above normal" Monsoon is between 104-110 per cent of the LPA and anything beyond 110 per cent of the LPA is considered as "excess".
(With agency inputs)