Southwest monsoon to be normal in 2017, says IMD


The Indian Meteorology Department has predicted normal southwest monsoon for this year. The department will release its forecast of region-wise and monthly rain distribution in June.

With a weak El Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole, the conditions were favourable for a near normal rainfall, he said.

"Quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of ± 5%".

The southwest monsoon is considered normal when the rainfall is 96-104% of the long period average (LPA) and is considered to be above normal when it is between 105-110% of the LPA.

Global forecasts suggest the El Nino is likely to develop during the second half of the monsoon season, but IMD meteorologists assert that it is too early to say what impact, if any, it will have on the 2017 monsoon. With India being a monsoon dependent country, IMD's forecast is crucial for policymakers, businessmen and the common man alike.

Although it is early to rejoice as a clearer picture would only emerge by the end of June, expectation of another bumper crop is already in the air.

This year's forecast of 96 percent comes amid a continuing drought in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Good monsoon rains are vital for Indian crops and a particularly dry season can reduce farm output, raising food prices which can be crippling for the tens of millions of India's poor. Agriculture growth is estimated at 4.2% in 2016-17 and the country is expected a record food grain output of almost 272 million tonnes. "A good, well-distributed monsoon will keep food inflation risk on the lower side and give RBI the elbow room to ignite growth by keeping liquidity accommodative", said Rupa Rrege Nitsure, group chief economist at L&T Finance Holdings. The Centre has, of late, stepped up work to complete its minor irrigation projects in a time-bound manner to drought-proof the sector which contributes 15% to India's GDP and employs more than 50% of its workforce.

The forecasts for regional and month-wise distribution of rainfall during the monsoon season is made in May when the IMD comes out with a revised, second-stage, long-range forecast. In 2005, the nation saw only 86 per cent of All India monsoon rainfall (per cent of LPA).

Skymet, a private forecasting agency has predicted monsoon's arrival in Kerala between May 28 and May 30.