The start of monsoon rains has not been as bad as feared earlier.
The years 2012 and 2014 had deficient rain and this year's southwest monsoon is officially projected as likely to be a deficient one. There have been good showers in eastern, northeastern and some areas of western India. It is a laggard in the central and northern parts.
Rain was over 13 of the 36 meteorological subdivisions in the first ten days of 2015; it had been 19 in 2012 and 18 in 2014. Almost 29 per cent of the 641 districts received scanty rain in this period; this was at 45 per cent in 2012 and 25 per cent in 2010. Around 17 per cent of the districts did not get any rain in the first 10 days, compared to 30 per cent around the same time in 2014 and 22 per cent in the first 13 days of 2012.
Thus, the start of this year's southwest monsoon has been weak but it had been weaker in the recent past in the comparative period, on various parameters. Rains had picked up pace from July onwards in the past five years.
June, the first month of the four-month southwest monsoon season, gets around 17 per cent of the total average rain in this period. The largest amount is traditionally in July and August, which decides the direction of kharif sowing.
The good news is that no major weather forecasting agencies, including government agenecy India Meteorological Department (IMD), has forecast a let-up in rain in the next week to 10 days, except in the north.
IMD had said conditions are becoming favourable for further advance of the monsoon over the remaining parts of southern India and some parts of eastern India during the next week.
IITM expects the monsoon to reach central India around June 25 and cover most parts, except the northwest, by the end of this month.
Skymet, a leading private weather forecast company, said there was a big chance of good and widespread rain across the country from June 13, due to multiple weather systems.
IMD's second forecast was that the rain in 2015 could be only around 88 per cent of the long-period average (deficient rain), down from the 93 per cent (slightly less than normal) it had predicted in April.