A month into the monsoon, and there is already a four per cent deficit in total rainfall in the country. The weather department had predicted a normal monsoon. While it's too early to be worried, concerns are being raised on how the last monsoon before the national election next year may perform and what will be its impact on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government since a good monsoon invariably uplifts the mood of the nation.
NDTV travels to the heart of the monsoon forecasting centres in Pune to get this insight.
It may be raining as the monsoon has made a sprint and covered the entire country 15 days ahead of schedule, but impressions can be deceptive. Overall the monsoon has been below par with the country as a whole registering a four per cent deficit in total rainfall so far. How worried should one be?
Dr Ravi Nanjundiah, director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, told NDTV, "We are 30 days into the monsoon, it is looking pretty good. There is a slight deficit but nothing to really worry about and there are three more months to go. I would say that it is going to be near normal. If you are looking at the larger scale which kind of influences the monsoon like pacific or the Indian Ocean, I think everything is doing fine nothing to really worry about."
The weather watchers are keeping a strict eye on the monsoon and special balloons are being sent up every day. Almost a quarter into the monsoon season, a third of the country has not received adequate rainfall. Almost the entire Indo-Gangetic plain which accounts for a very large chunk of the Indian voters is coming up as red or below par.
If one looks at the overall picture of rainfall received this year, the monsoon tracker put forward by the Indian Meteorological Department presents a grim reminder. The country as a whole has received minus four per cent rain. East and Northeast India has received minus 26 per cent rain. Central India has received minus one per cent rain. Northwest India, which is the granary, has received plus 12 per cent rain and southern India has received plus 20 per cent rain.
The variability seen in the monsoon season continues to befuddle scientists and they are now relying on this new Cray Super Computer called Pratyush, India's most powerful, to help decipher the mysteries of the monsoon. But a below par monsoon is something Prime Minister Narendra Modi can ill afford in a pre-election year.