It seems that India will receive deficient rainfall for a second consecutive year. In 2014, by mid-July, many parts of the country were hit by severe droughts, only to be followed by excessive rainfall and unprecedented floods in Kashmir.
In a country, where farmers are already suffering due to crops damaged by unseasonal rain, a deficient monsoon is plain bad news.
A PTI report says:
Addressing a news conference, Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Earth Science, said the Monsoon would be 93 per cent of the Long Period Average which is below normal.
According to the IMD parameters, below 90 per cent is defined as deficient, 90-96 per cent is considered as below normal, 96-104 per cent as normal and above which is excess.
He, however, did not respond to whether the country is likely to face any "drought-like" condition.
"There is a 35 per cent probability for the monsoon to remain below normal while the probability to have a deficient rainfall is 33 per cent and 28 per cent to be normal. There is only one per cent possibility for the rainfall to be excess.
Professor Swaminathan, the father of India's Green Revolution tweeted:
With IMD forecasting a 35% probability of deficient #monsoon, it is time we get ready with a deficient monsoon management strategy.— M S Swaminathan (@msswaminathan) April 22, 2015
Forewarned is forearmed. We should prepare contingency plans such as seed banks & rain water harvesting for different rainfall possibilities— M S Swaminathan (@msswaminathan) April 22, 2015
More than 60% of our cultivated area is #monsoon dependent. Our farmers, already suffering, may have to prepare for even more testing times.— M S Swaminathan (@msswaminathan) April 22, 2015
Prepare for deficit monsoon. Special attention needed for feeding & saving farm animals since first sign of distress is sale of farm animals— M S Swaminathan (@msswaminathan) April 22, 2015
On the implications of IMD's predictions, Manas Chakravarty writes in the Mint:
Over the years, agriculture has become a smaller part of the economy and its contribution to gross domestic product has fallen. But then, neither investment demand nor exports are doing particularly well at the moment and rural demand is depressed. Another poor monsoon will add to the burden.
Two poor monsoons in a row as well as the recent unseasonal rain will certainly pose a challenge to controlling inflation, while the lack of rural demand will affect consumption growth, pushing back the long-awaited economic recovery.
This inforgraphic from Hindustan Times shows the possible effect of El Nino on Indian monsoon:
A report by Reuters on the effects of El Nino says:
Bangladesh and its South Asian neighbours are expected to see below average rainfall in 2015 due to the impact of an El Nino weather pattern, which can bring on a dry spell in the region, a weather expert said on Wednesday.
In India, a strong El Nino could result in droughts during the monsoon season and hit crops from rice to sugar and cotton in the country which is one of the world's leading producers of these farm commodities.
Under the circumstances, Anil Padmanbhan asked the most pertinent question in his Mint blog: Don’t the weather gods like the NDA?