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Rainfall forecast 2024: IMD forecasts above average monsoon for 2024

New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday forecast above average monsoon rainfall in 2024, which augurs well for the country’s agricultural sector that was hit by erratic weather last year.

The monsoon, which normally arrives in Kerala around June 1 and retreats in mid-September, is expected to total 106 per cent of the long-term average this year, said M. Ravichandran, Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

“The forecast based on both dynamical and statistical models suggest that quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal rainfall during June to September is likely to be 106 per cent of the long period average,” Ravichandran said at a press conference.

IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra explained that El Nino, which tends to disrupt the monsoon, was weakening, and it would enter a neutral stage by the time the monsoon sets in.

La Nina, which is a weather phenomenon that leads to an increase in rainfall in India, would then set in by August, he said.

The monsoon plays a key role in the Indian economy as close to 50 per cent of the country’s farmland does not have any other source of irrigation.

The monsoon rains are also crucial for recharging the country’s reservoirs and aquifers from which the water can be used later in the year to irrigate crops.

India has emerged as a key exporter of foodgrains but had to resort to curbing overseas shipments of sugar, rice, wheat, and onions in order to increase domestic supplies and keep prices in check due to the erratic monsoon last year which hit farm production.

A robust growth in the farming sector helps to keep inflation in check.

The IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the June-September season.

Apart from supplying food, the farming sector also plays a key role in providing a demand for industrial goods such as two-wheelers, fridges and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).

An increase in agricultural production and incomes, therefore, apart from contributing directly to GDP growth also leads to an increase in industrial growth.

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