RECOVERING RAINS are yet to bring any cheer. Three of the four weeks of June witnessed rains that were between 14 and 38 per cent less than the long period average (LPA). By the month end cumulatively, rains were 10 per cent below LPA. However, good progress of the monsoon during July gradually reduced this deficit to 2.8 per cent, on a cumulative basis (June-July 25). The worrisome part, however, is the skewed distribution of the rain. The agrarian Gangetic belt witnessed poor precipitation. The deficit in Bihar, eastern and western Uttar Pradesh ranged between 35 per cent and 43.4 per cent. The progress of sowing rain-fed kharif crops has been slow too. As on July 27, 2018, cereals sowing stood 10.7 per cent lower than it was in the corresponding period last year. Rice and pulses saw a decline of 12.4 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively during the period.