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