The south west monsoon rains, crucial for the agriculture sector and for rural consumption, could play spoilsport in the revival of the economic growth with India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting 56 per cent probability that it would be below average including 23 per cent probability that it would actually be deficient.
Predictions of the weather department show that there is 35 per cent chance that the monsoon will be normal this year, 8 per cent chance that it would be above normal and 1 per cent chance of excess rainfall.
At the same time, it said there is 33 per cent chance of it being below normal and a 23 per cent chance of drought this year.
Below-average monsoon is not a good sign for the agriculture sector in India with most Indians living in rural areas and heavily dependent on monsoon to water their crops.
Moreover, rural consumption which is critical for both consumer durables as well as FMCG companies could be affected as can be sales of two-wheelers.
India is expected to experience below-normal monsoon rainfall at 95 per cent of Long Period Average (LPA) in 2014, with a margin for error of plus or minus 5 per cent, according to the first official forecast by IMD.
In 2013, India witnessed 106 per cent rainfall, which was above average and resulted in record grains production at 262 million tonnes for the 2013-14 agri season starting July.
The last time when India faced drought with rainfall below the normal range was in 2009 and prior to that, in 2004 and 2002.
IMD releases its predictions on monsoon twice a year–April and June. The first official forecast is more or less in line with the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) latest outlook, which said that most part of South Asia region, including India, will see below-average rainfall.
IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire season.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)