India’s southwest monsoon, the lifeline of millions of farmers across the country, is expected to be deficient this year at 88% of the Long Period Average (LPA) as against the earlier forecast of 93%, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said today.
A less than normal rains would not only lower kharif output, but could also put pressure on food prices, which are already expected to go up due to damage to standing crops due to unseasonal rains.
Monsoon in 2014 was also deficient at 88% of LPA and almost 30% of the landmass of India faced the prospect of drought.
A saving grace could be the adequate stocks of wheat and rice. Data from Food Corporation of India shows that grain stocks in state warehouses as of May 1 was 59.13 million tonnes, as against a requirement of 41.12 million tonnes.
The India Meteorological Department said that the worst impacted due to deficient rains could be the North-Western parts of India, which includes the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
However, the impact of deficient rains in states that have a good irrigation facility might not be so pronounced.