The southwest monsoon arrived on the Kerala coast on Monday, as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The monsoon rains are expected to be 100 per cent of the long-period average (LPA) this year, according to the weather office. Monsoon first hits Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, the southernmost tip of the country, and then gradually moves in the northern direction. The arrival of monsoon comes at a time when the country is battered by COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, which has pushed the economy into a state of standstill impacting key sectors such as agriculture.
IMD declares onset of Southwest Monsoon 2020 over KeralaIndia Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) June 1, 2020
Southwest Monsoon has set in over Kerala today, the 1st June, 2020, coinciding with its normal date.
Detailed Press Release issued by IMD in this regard is available at https://t.co/dArV0Ug8nhpic.twitter.com/4nTbGNuMau
The onset of monsoon augurs well for rural parts of the country, and brings a ray of hope for the economy. Agriculture accounts for about 15 per cent of the country's GDP, and employs more than 50 per cent of its population.
The weather office has predicted that the rainfall across the country as a whole is most likely to be normal for the 2020 southwest monsoon season. The IMD considers rainfall equivalent to 96-104 per cent of the long-period average as normal.
Rainfall will be well-distributed across the country with the exception of the north-eastern region, according to the India Meteorological Department.
A well-balanced rainfall is crucial for geographically vast and diverse countries such as India, as it has a direct bearing on the amount of land available for irrigation purposes. Good monsoons are the main driver of rural demand in the country.
Agriculture in the country is heavily dependent on the rainfall, especially for crops such as cotton, rice and oilseeds. The timely onset and forecast of well-distributed rainfall will cheer farmers and policymakers as it raises prospects of another record harvest and will further enhance agricultural growth amid gloom in other sectors of the economy, which have been beaten down by the pandemic.
Good monsoon boosts rural income and the demand for consumer goods, automobiles and gold.
Bountiful monsoons translate into higher agricultural output, which in turn provides a boost to income levels and nudges higher spending among the rural population. Major sectors - such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), fertilizers, two-wheelers and chemicals - do well in times of booming rural economy.
Monsoons also have a major impact on inflation. Favourable monsoons lead to higher output in the kharif season, thereby driving the food prices lower. And as food inflation is an important component of retail inflation, a reduction in food inflation tends to pull retail inflation lower.
The monsoon season in the country ranges from June to September; and accounts for 75 per cent of rainfall within the country - this is commonly known as the south-west monsoon and brings widespread rain across the country.
States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh, and some parts of Telangana and Karnataka receive rains from October to December; these are the less-known northeast monsoons and account for the remaining rainfall in the country.