Deficient Rainfall Looms Over Half Of India, Says IMD
A water vessel sits on farmland near the village of Khardewadi in this aerial photograph taken in Beed district, Maharashtra. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Deficient Rainfall Looms Over Half Of India, Says IMD

Nearly half of India’s landmass received deficient rainfall in the ongoing southwest monsoon, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.

Half of the country’s 36 sub-divisions received deficient rainfall, while 16 have received ‘normal’ rains so far, IMD said. The southern peninsula region of the subcontinent remains the most deficient with 29 percent departure from the long-period average—average rainfall received during the monsoon season over a 50-year period, the benchmark against which rainfall in any monsoon season is measured.

A deficient and slow-moving monsoon can impede sowing progress and result in poor reservoir levels across the country, disrupting the Kharif season and weighing heavily on India’s largely agrarian economy.

India’s rainfall, in the week through July 17, was 20 percent below the LPA. From June until July 17, the country’s cumulative rainfall was 15.8 percent shy of normal levels. That has affected sowing of crops, especially pulses, which has seen 25 percent dip in its total acreage to 3.4 million hectares as of July 12, as per a report by Kotak Institutional Equities Research.

Deficient Rainfall Looms Over Half Of India, Says IMD
The entire country, however, has received 52.8 mm of rainfall in the previous week, which is still lower than the normal rainfall of 65.8 mm. Maharashtra’s largest farm region—Vidarbha— has a 93 percent deficient rainfall as of July 17.

Kharif acreage was 8.6 percent lower than the year-ago period, while rice sown this year was 11 percent lower at 9.8 million hectares. Sugarcane was sown over 5 million hectares from 5.2 million hectare a year ago.

A strong revival in monsoon in July along with a good spatial distribution is needed to ensure overall output during the Kharif season is not hurt significantly, Edelweiss had said in a note last month.

The basins of the country’s important rivers, including Ganga, Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna and Mahanadi, received deficient rainfall. Overall, precipitation at basins and reservoirs were nearly 12 percent below long-term average for the week ending July 18.

The country’s reservoir levels—which play a key role in the kharif season—remain largely deficient. In the eventuality of deficit rainfall, water levels at reservoirs of top five producer-states of rice, coarse cereals and pulses pose a major threat to the yield, according to an IDFC AMC note.

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