The 2019 south-west monsoon season has ended with rainfall at 6 per cent surplus over the long period average (LPA) at the all-India level. A ‘normal’ season would mean rainfall at ±4 per cent of LPA.
However, uneven distribution of rains - both spatial and temporal — meant that sowing was initially slow but gained pace later. Excess rains in many places have also damaged crops, in addition to life and property. As of September 25, central India got a thorough drenching, with rainfall 25 per cent above normal. Relatively close was the southern peninsula, where cumulative rainfall was 16 per cent above normal. Deficiency, at 16 per cent below normal, was the highest in east and north-east, whereas the northwest was 8 per cent short.
Half of the country* received ‘normal’ rains this season. Compared with the past few years, fewer places saw normal rains, while close to a third saw ‘excess’ and the rest saw deficiency. The good part is most regions that received deficient rains enjoy good irrigation cover and therefore the impact on crop production would be somewhat cushioned.
Among major kharif growers, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh have received excess rains at 23-37 per cent above normal. By contrast, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have seen rainfall deficiency of 20-43 per cent. And Bihar, which was deficient till the past week, has seen some catch-up.
Given the wild swings this year, deficiency in many others, rapid catch-up in a few areas and delay in others, some damage to crops and sowing is a given. The extent of this remains a monitorable. To be sure, some re-sowing or delayed sowing has also taken place, which would mitigate some of the damage. That said, rainfall volume data alone does not tell the whole story. We need to also consider vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation for a comprehensive perspective on states and crops.
CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP) does just that. The higher the CRISIL DRIP score, the more adverse the impact of deficient rains. We compare scores not just with the previous year, but also with the last five years’ average, to get a more holistic picture.
* This refers to the 36 sub-divisions in the country where rainfall is tracked by IMD
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Agriculture, CRISIL