India likely to receive normal monsoon rains

2017-04-18 22:04
Indian school children wait for a bus during heavy rain in Kolkata. (Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP)

Indian school children wait for a bus during heavy rain in Kolkata. (Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP)

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New Delhi - India's crucial monsoon rains are forecast to be normal this year, the weather office says, bringing hope to the agricultural sector that employs 60% of the population and has been hit by drought in recent years.

Good monsoon rains are vital for Indian crops and a particularly dry season can reduce farm output, which will mean a rise in food prices which can be crippling for the tens of millions of India's poor.

More than half of India's farms lack irrigation for their crops, meaning they rely almost entirely on the annual rains that fall between June and September.

"The country will receive 96% of the long period average," said KJ Ramesh, director general of the India Meteorological Department.

The long period average refers to a 50-year average of 89cm rainfall for the entire four-month season beginning in June.

"We expect normal climatological distribution of rains and we also expect the trend of higher agricultural production and economic growth to continue."

Read more on:    india  |  weather

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