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11 July 2014

Monsoon, a key driver of the Indian economy

Written by Jayant Chaudhary

India, predominantly an agriculture-based economy, is largely dependent on the monsoon. The agriculture sector is the backbone of the Indian economy and thus, monsoon should be considered as the backbone of agriculture. The four-month South-West monsoon season, accounts for nearly 75 per cent of the country’s total rainfall and plays a crucial rule as about 55-60 per cent of the area sown is still rain-fed.

India gets nearly 53 per cent of its agricultural produce from the kharif season (June-September) compared to the rabi season (November-February), where the production is around 47 per cent. The impact of the monsoon is also crucial for rabi crops as it has an impact on the ground water and also reservoirs which are critical for rabi crops irrigation. Agriculture contributes some 14 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia’s third-largest economy and any divergence from the normal progress or distribution will have direct impact on the agricultural output and a cascading effect on the overall economy, food inflation and therefore, consumer spending in India.

The onset of monsoon this year is behind schedule and  the rainfall from the start of the season is 43 per cent below normal. The Indian Meteorological Department  initially forecast monsoon below normal at 95 per cent of the long period average (LPA) and then revised it to 93 per cent of LPA in its second long range forecast.  Skymet, a private agency, forecast monsoon at 94 per cent of LPA initially. However, with monsoon advancing slowly, Skymet has lowered its forecast to 91 per cent of LPA, a cause for concern.

News Source : Business Line - New Delhi, 9 July 2014


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