ALSO READIndia's monsoon likely to escape El Nino unscathed-weather office India's monsoon likely to escape El Nino unscathed - IMD New Delhi World Book Fair kicks off today Army chief flags off vintage car rally in New Delhi NBCC (India) launches e-auction for sale of commercial spaces in Nauroji Nagar, New Delhi
By Sudarshan Varadhan and Mayank Bhardwaj
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's crucial monsoon rains are expected to be average in 2017, a senior official at the weather office said on Tuesday, easing concerns over farm and economic growth in the world's leading producer of an array of agricultural goods.
The crop-nourishing monsoon is the lifeblood for India's farm-dependent $2 trillion economy. Nearly two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people depend on agriculture for a living.
India's weather office defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire four-month season beginning June.
Monsoon rains deliver about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because nearly half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.
"We expect normal climatological distribution of rains and we also expect the trend of higher agricultural production and economic growth to continue," Ramesh said.
Monsoon rains will arrive on the southern tip of Kerala state by around June 1 and retreat from the western state of Rajasthan by September, the department said.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)