India is going to have a far worse monsoon season than expected. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the rainfall in June-September is likely to be below normal at 93 per cent of the long period average. In terms of quantity, this could be the lowest in four years.
In April, the IMD had predicted a below normal monsoon at 95 per cent.
Although the southwest monsoon has arrived in Kerala, it is expected to weaken, while the El Nino effect is expected to further intensify in the coming days, said the IMD on Monday.
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On a monthly basis, July is likely to see 93 per cent of normal rainfall, while August may see it go up to 96 per cent, still below normal.
Northwest India is likely to be worst hit with as low as 85 per cent of its normal quota of rainfall, while Northeast India may get 99 per cent, central India 94 per cent, and the southern peninsula 93 per cent.
“El Nino is expected to peak by July-end and Augustbeginning,” said L S Rathore, director general, IMD.
The government, however, does not want to press the panic button yet, especially for agriculture and allied sectors, said Minister for Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh. “Our mandate is to bring out a forecast, which we have. The implications of the forecast will be dealt with by the different departments,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth has held multiple meetings with the concerned ministries like Agriculture, Food and others, to chalk out an action plan and issue advisories in the event of a drought.
The government hopes the deficiency in quantity will be made up by the distribution. “More than quantity, the distribution of the rainfall is what matters for all sectors. Sometimes distribution makes up for quantity,” said Singh.
President Pranab Mukherjee mentioned in his address to Parliament on Monday that the new government was alert about the possibility of a below-normal monsoon this year and is preparing contingency plans.