Rainfall has been abundant in July and August, months critical for the kharif crop. Sowing for the entire kharif season, estimated to have been completed as of August 21, is 8.6% higher on-year. As a result, agriculture should be the saving grace for the beleaguered Indian economy this year.
None of the major kharif crop-growing states is staring at a rainfall deficiency. In fact, this time, the story is one of excess. Since mid-August, rains have inundated Gujarat, which recorded 68% above normal rains by month-end. What comes as a solace is that most of the heavy downpour has been in the less-kharif growing areas. There have been excess rains in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar almost through this season.
Region-wise, rain was 20% and 21% above normal in peninsular and central India, respectively. In the east, it was 2% above normal, while in the northwest it was 9% deficient, which is considered normal. This was on account of mild weakness in rains in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
Agriculture is the only sector that grew — as much as 3.4% — in Q1, reflecting a healthy rabi crop and rapid progress in kharif sowing. CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter or DRIP scores only strengthen the expectations. This proprietary index looks beyond rainfall volume data to gauge the impact of rain deficiency on vulnerable states and crops.
The latest DRIP scores indicate stress has eased in Rajasthan. Meanwhile, DRIP scores in Uttar Pradesh rose a tad as the rains there weakened. However, scores are below last year as well as the past average. Hence, there is no reason to worry.
Note: DRIP scores are for rainfall data from June 1 to August 26