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Monsoon misses date with India, may come today

The Met department had predicted the monsoon will arrive in India on Thursday, four days after its due arrival date because of the El Niño weather phenomenon

The southwest monsoon failed to keep its date with India. It might hit Kerala on Friday.

“It is raining in Kerala on Thursday and if it sustains for another day, we will declare its onset, as all other criteria for the onset have been met,” L S Rathore, director-general of India Meteorological Department (IMD), told Business Standard.

The Met department had predicted the monsoon will arrive in India on Thursday, four days after its due arrival date because of the El Niño weather phenomenon. The forecast was with a model error of four days. Rains are vital to rejuvenate an economy battling its longest slowdown since the 1980s and to cool inflation that has averaged 10 per cent annually for two years.

The farm sector makes up 14 per cent of India’s $ 2-trillion economy, with two-thirds of its 1.2-billion population living in rural areas. Half of India’s farmland still lacks access to irrigation.

The country plans to expand irrigation coverage by at least a tenth by 2017 to cut its dependence on seasonal rains. Heavy rain has reached Sri Lanka, with flooding reported earlier this week in capital Colombo. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours for monsoon rains to arrive at Kerala after crossing the tip of Lanka. Rice, pulses and cotton sowing has started in many areas of the north-west and south, taking advantage of pre-monsoon showers. Farmers have taken notice of the farm ministry’s advisory to sow summer crops early this year as the second half of the four-month rainy season could be drier due to the El Niño weather pattern.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology in its latest update said there was a high chance of El Niño weather event this year. El Niño has the potential to cause severe droughts in Asia-Pacific, including India.

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