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Monsoon tapering after delay of 23 days

The southwest monsoon on Tuesday started withdrawing from the western parts of Rajasthan, which will gradually bring an end to its four-month journey across the Indian peninsula for 2014. The withdrawal started after a delay of almost 23 days.

The monsoon, which entered the country on June 5, had an uneven run in 2014, as it was deficient by 40 per cent in the first 45 days of the season.

Thereafter, it did pick up pace, narrowing the deficit to almost 11 per cent as of Tuesday. From now on, the rains would gradually retract from the remaining parts of the country, the southernmost tip being the last.

The four-month season is crucial for not only India’s agriculture growth but provides vital impetus to overall economy. The monsoon season brings 70 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall.

In early July, the sowing of kharif crops was almost 50 per cent less than 2013 because of delayed rain.

However, as the monsoon staged a smart recovery, planting of kharif crops too picked  pace, pushing the acreage to almost last year’s level.

The revival, though, was not uniform across the country and in some pockets the early deficit continued leading to drought-like conditions in major northwestern states — Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The water levels in 86 major reservoirs across the country, which had dropped to around 30 per cent of the last year levels initially, are still less at around 90 per cent of the last year’s levels, which could prove crucial if winter rains are not good.

However, experts feel that late resurgence of southwest monsoon could provide good moisture to the soil, vital for rabi sowing.

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