Prelims cum Mains

Monsoon makes slowest progress so far in 12 years

In News:

  • According to the Meteorological Department records, this year’s monsoon has so far been the slowest progressing monsoon in at least 12 years.

 

News Summary:

  • The advancement in monsoon is slow and the strong winds that typically accompany the monsoon current are missing.
  • Monsoon has currently reached just about 10-15% of the country, whereas two-thirds of India is normally under the spell of monsoon by this time of the year
  • The slow progressing monsoon has resulted in a countrywide rainfall deficit of 44% for the season (from June 1).
  • The fastest ever monsoon was in 2013, when monsoon had covered the entire country by June 16, a month ahead of the normal date.

 

Region wise impact

  • Central India is the hardest hit by monsoon’s delay. The region has a rain deficit of over 57% in June, which is adding to the drought caused by deficit rainfall in the preceding months.
  • The monsoon shortfall in south India So far is 38% while it is 43% in the northeast and 27% in northwest India.

 

Reasons for slow progress

  • Cyclone Vayu: Formation of the northward-moving cyclone Vayu in Arabian Sea drew away moisture from the system. While it brought rain in Gujarat and west coast of the country, it also stalled the monsoon progress.
  • No low pressure system: One of the conditions that speeds up the movement of the monsoon is formation of low pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal, which then moves into the mainland, bringing the rain. As of now, there is no low pressure system. However, when formed may accelerate the current.
  • El-Nino: El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon which has a major influence on weather and climate patterns over many parts of the world. For India, it is linked to below normal rainfall and droughts during the southwest monsoon. Less than normal rains in June is due to presence of an El Nino.

Note: Monsoon’s movement into north India also depends on a western disturbance coming in at the right time.

 

 

Why monsoon is significant for Indian Economy?

Significant for agriculture:

  • A huge part of India’s agricultural land is unirrigated and dependent on rain brought by the monsoons. All variations in the summer monsoon affect agriculture and economy of the country.
  • India gets around 70 percent of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which also affects the yield of some key kharif or summer crops like rice, pulses and oilseeds such as soybeans.
  • The Monsoon rains in India also replenish reservoirs and groundwater that helps in improving irrigation and also boosts hydropower production.

Effect on demand:

  • In a good monsoon season, farm output goes up, boosting demand for consumer goods as well as income of rural people, leading to a stronger economic outlook that in turn help lift equities, especially of companies selling goods in rural areas.
  • However, a poor monsoon season weakens demand for FMCG products, tractors, two-wheelers, rural housing.

Impact on Inflation:

  • A good Monsoon season leads to bumper farm output that keeps food prices under control.

Government expenditure:

  • Good monsoon season, also checks government spending on supporting through incentives, subsidies. For example, a good monsoon season can reduce demand for subsidized diesel used for pumping water from wells, ground, ponds or rivers for irrigation.
  • On the other hand, a poor monsoon forces the government to spend on the import of food, increase in subsidies as well as take measures like farm loan waivers.

 

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