India Should Brace for 'Sub-Normal' Monsoon

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India Should Brace for 'Sub-Normal' Monsoon
New Delhi:  The country needs to brace for a 'sub-normal' monsoon. In its April 2014 forecast, the India Meteorological Department had predicted that the country as a whole is likely to get about 95 per cent of the normal monsoon this year.

Today, India's new science minister Jitendra Singh said "the country is likely to get below normal rainfall in the monsoon season. It could be 93% or 80.1 cm of rain in the monsoon period."

Mr Singh added "We don't need to be alarmist but we need to prepare for less than normal rain."

The Met department said that the heat wave will continue for the next three-four days.

The monsoon was delayed by five days in reaching the coast of Kerala and even today it is lagging behind the nominal expectations.

The stage was set earlier in the day when President Pranab Mukherjee, in his joint address to Parliament, said, "My government is alert about the possibility of a subnormal monsoon this year and contingency plans are being prepared."

A heating of the Pacific Ocean has been noticed and it is slowly building up through a phenomenon called the El Nino and if it strikes with some severity then the chances of drought could be higher than 50 per cent. But not all El Nino years have dried up the monsoon so alarm bells are not ringing just yet.

The Agriculture Ministry is already making contingency plans of what needs to be done if the monsoon rains fail the country.

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