New Delhi: Parts of northern India received heavy showers on Saturday as the southwest monsoon advanced further into central and northern India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The monsoon this year had set over Kerala on schedule June 1 and advanced fast, covering the southern, eastern and central states within two weeks.
In northern India, pre-monsoon showers for the last three days have brought respite from the sweltering heat.
The southwest monsoon reached Himachal Pradesh Saturday, 10 days in advance, with most of the hill state experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall, the meteorological office in Shimla said.
Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Delhi have also been receiving showers.
In Delhi, the monsoon is expected to reach early next week, way ahead of its scheduled June 29 date.
According to weather office, there is nothing unusual about advancement of monsoon and it would cover major crop-growing regions before the usual mid-July.
"This is not something unusual and in the past also we had seen monsoon advancing by several days. In fact it will be good for grain bowl states of Punjab and Haryana," IMD director BP Yadav told IANS.
The monsoon rainfall is important for crop production in the country and also has significant impact on economy.
Months of June and July are the sowing season for Kharif (summer) crops like paddy and pulses.
A good monsoon this year can prove important for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ahead of the general elections next year, as it can hold inflation and give fillip to the economy.
Agriculturist expert Devinder Sharma was, however, cautious.
"A good monsoon is a healthy sign for the country but I am still keeping my fingers crossed for we don`t know if monsoon will be normal during the entire rainy season from June to September," said Sharma.
He said monsoon has a direct impact on economy but it won`t be able to bring down the inflation.
"A good monsoon has nothing to do with inflation and in last four years inflation has shot up because of poor policy of the central government," he added.