Mon­soon won’t let down BJP in run-up to elec­tion

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

In­dia will wit­ness a nor­mal mon­soon this year, the In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment has said. The mon­soon is con­sid­ered nor­mal if the av­er­age rain­fall is be­tween 96 to 104 per cent of the long pe­riod av­er­age.

This year, the fore­cast is that the mon­soon will be 97 per cent of the av­er­age, which is nor­mal for the sea­son, IMD Di­rec­tor Gen­eral K G Ramesh told a press con­fer­ence.

Rain­fall be­low 90 per­cent of the av­er­age would be clas­si­fied as a drought. Dur­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi's first two years in of­fice, in 2014 and 2015, there were con­sec­u­tive droughts that ag­gra­vated the agrar­ian dis­tress, bring­ing the gov­ern­ment under at­tack from sev­eral quar­ters.

The four-month mon­soon sea­son pro­vides about 70 per cent of the an­nual rain­fall; more im­por­tant, it de­ter­mines the fate of key crops such as rice, wheat, sug­ar­cane and oilseeds. The im­por­tance of the farm sec­tor stems not just from the fact that it ac­counts for about 15 per­cent of In­dia's $2 tril­lion econ­omy, but also be­cause it em­ploys more than half of the coun­try's 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple, said a Reuters re­port.

If mon­soon rains help raise yield and out­put, it will boost de­mand for con­sumer goods and raises in­comes of ru­ral peo­ple. A stronger eco­nomic out­look would lift eq­ui­ties, mainly for com­pa­nies sell­ing prod­ucts in ru­ral ar­eas, in­clud­ing con­sumer goods, au­to­mo­biles, fer­tilis­ers and pes­ti­cides.

The IMD chief added that there was "very less prob­a­bil­ity" of a de­fi­cient mon­soon. The date of on­set of mon­soon will be an­nounced in the mid­dle of May.

Apart from lift­ing farm and eco­nomic growth, a wet spell will keep a lid on in­fla­tion, po­ten­tially tempt­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi to bring for­ward gen­eral elec­tions due in May 2019, said the Reuters re­port.

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