Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a great relief to farmers and people facing the scorching heat, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted that the South-West Monsoon is likely to be normal, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Thursday.
The weather analytics from the Met department said, “India’s June-September monsoon rainfall is likely to be `well distributed` and “normal”.
"IMD (India Meteorological Department) is expecting a normal monsoon as on today. But it (IMD) prefers to wait till the first week of May for the correct picture," Pawar said.
He further said, all four different weather models from different countries show normal monsoon for India.
The first monsoon forecast for the June-September period of this year will be officially released on April 26, IMD Chief LS Rathore said.
South-West Monsoon begins from June, when sowing of Kharif (summer) crops like paddy are undertaken.
The forecast report said India is likely to have the least fluctuation from normal through June-September period.
Sufficient rainfall is required in Maharasthra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan this year as these states are reeling under drought. The situation is alarming especially in Maharasthra, where drinking water and fodder availability is insufficient.
Noting that Maharasthra situation is really bad, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna had yesterday said: "Area under sugarcane in Maharasthra is obviously going to be down. Cane area is mainly irrigated. Dams in some parts of the state are dry and sowing will depend on monsoon."
On monsoon, Bahuguna had said: "Weather plays a role but over time we have become slightly resilient to weather. So, I am not overly worried about bad weather (monsoon)."
A timely onset of rains will also help reduce the use of electricity for agricultural purposes, thus reducing the stress on the power market. Electricity generation is also likely to improve, if monsoon remains normal.
In terms of probabilities, Skymet, a private weather department, also predicted normal monsoon for this year and as much chance of rains being above normal. It also said that the probability of rains being below 96 percent of the average was 12 percent. The rain forecast for August is 97 percent of average and in September 103 percent.
However, the predictions have an error margin of 4 percent.
Monsoon rains are crucial for the agriculture sector, which contributes about 15 per cent to the country`s GDP, as only 40 per cent of the total cultivable area is under irrigation.
Last year, with India receiving just 92 percent rains, it was a particularly bad year for farmers.
With PTI inputs