By admin       2017-10-05

A second normal southwest monsoon in a row, after 2 years of drought, is not a bad thing more so, in today’s rather gloomy economic environment.True, the rains this time have not been as good as last year. Rainfall during the 4-month season turned out 5.2 per cent below its long period average (LPA), with the deficiency showing up in the second half. This was unlike in 2016, when the overall gap vis-à-vis the LPA was only 2.6 per cent and the rains were more evenly distributed across the monsoon. The relatively patchy monsoon is reflected in the agriculture ministry pegging this year’s output of kharif foodgrains at 134.67 mt, to be marginally lower than the record 138.52 mt for 2016-17. Kharif oilseeds output may also fall from 22.40 mt to 20.68 mt, as per the ministry’s first advance estimates released last week.What should be a matter of relief, however, is the situation in the Deep South. This belt covering much of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala recorded rainfall failure both in the southwest (July-September) and northeast (October-December) monsoon seasons. As the first half (June-July) of 2017 monsoon also reported deficient rains 13.3 per cent in north interior Karnataka, 18.5 per cent in coastal Karnataka, 33.7 per cent in south interior Karnataka, 21.1 per cent in Tamil Nadu and 30.3 per cent in Kerala a back-to-back drought seemed imminent. And with the memories of last September’s violent protests in Karnataka against the SC order to release Cauvery reservoir waters to Tamil Nadu still fresh, one couldn’t have expected anything but worse.But all these worries were evaporated by the turnaround in the second-half in the entire Deep South belt. Cumulative rainfall for the season has ended up being 1.6 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 30.5 per cent above LPA in south interior Karnataka, north interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, respectively, while only 8.9 per cent below normal for Kerala and 15.8 per cent for coastal Karnataka.The focus of worry has, instead, now shifted to Madhya Pradesh. Both west and east MP had received good first-half monsoon rainfall 4.3 per cent above LPA for the former and only 2 per cent below for the latter. But August and September hae seen both subdivisions facing extended dry spell. As a result, rainfall for the whole season has been 15.8 per cent below LPA in west MP, while 24.3 per cent deficient in east MP. The effect of the monsoon’s weakening in the second half could be felt more in the upcoming rabi season. Given that MP is a major producer of wheat, chana (chickpea), masur (lentil), matar (peas), mustard and even rabi onions, depleted soil moisture and reservoir water levels can be a concern. With the monsoon being deficient also in UP, Punjab and Haryana, the prospects for rabi don’t look remotely as good as last year.

Download App

# #

Member Login