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Monsoon Progresses After Delay, Set to Bring Relief to Heat-Stricken Northern Plains

20 Jun 2024 2:27 pm
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MUMBAI, 20 Jun (Commoditiescontrol): After stalling for more than a week, India's monsoon is advancing and is expected to cover central parts of the country in the next few days, offering much-needed respite from the ongoing heatwave in the grain-growing northern plains, according to senior weather officials.

The summer rains, which are crucial for the economic growth of Asia's third-largest economy, typically commence in the southern regions around June 1 and spread nationwide by July 8. These rains enable farmers to plant vital crops such as rice, cotton, soybeans, and sugarcane.

While the monsoon arrived nearly two days ahead of schedule in the western state of Maharashtra, which includes the commercial capital of Mumbai, its progress in the central and eastern states stalled for almost a week. This delay has significant implications for the agricultural sector, which relies heavily on the monsoon rains.

The monsoon is the lifeblood of India's nearly $3.5-trillion economy, providing nearly 70% of the rainfall needed to water farms and replenish reservoirs and aquifers. Nearly half of India's farmland, in the world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, and sugar, depends on these annual rains, which usually last from June to September.

Northern states such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, and Punjab have experienced a significant rainfall deficit in the first 19 days of June. A Moneycontrol analysis revealed that these regions are facing the largest rainfall deficits compared to normal, with the entire country experiencing an 18% rainfall deficit from June 1 to June 19.

Rainfall norms are calculated using a 30-year long-period average specific to each region. A deficit is reported in percentage terms when rainfall falls below this average. Apart from seven states and union territories that have received more rainfall than usual, the rest of the country is facing a deficit. Fourteen states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Gujarat, received less than 50% of the normal precipitation during this period. In Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab, and Haryana, the deficit exceeds 90%.

However, the monsoon is expected to advance swiftly from next week, bringing down temperatures and potentially alleviating the heat stress in northern India.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91 98201 3018)

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