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Government downgrades rain forecast to deficient, rules out drought

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Owing to poor rainfall in June and July, the government on Tuesday announced that rainfall will be deficient this season forecasting 87% rainfall. The central government, however, added that monsoon has picked up now and ruled out any possibility of drought.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scaled down its earlier expected rainfall forecast from "below average 93 per cent (as forecast in May 2014) " to 87 per cent (August 2014) of the long period average (LPA) mainly due to shortage of rain during June by around 43 per cent, which falls in the deficit category.

"The deficit rainfall is most likely expected to affect the yield of crops like millet, sorghum, ragi and pulses," said a senior IMD official.

As per IMD's region-wise estimates suggest, monsoon rainfall is likely to be 76 per cent over north-west India, 89 per cent over central India, 87 per cent over south peninsula and 93 per cent over Northeast India. IMD categorically stated that northern and central India will receive less rainfall and would continue to reel under hot and humid weather.

IMD officials explained that as north-west India is expected to have least rainfall, states that are likely to be most affected are Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. However, states like Punjab and Haryana have good irrigation system and they do not entirely depend on monsoon rainfall for water.

IMD also stated that there is 68 per cent probability for the season rainfall over the country as a whole to be deficient which is less than 90 per cent of LPA.

"Monsoon overall is not that pessimistic but the scaling down of forecast is due to poor rainfall in the months of June and first two weeks of July," said union earth sciences minister Jitendra Singh while adding that "there is no need for us to be alarmist and rainfall is expected to be good in second half -- August and September where we are expecting 95 per cent of the rains".

Singh also denied any possibility of 2014 turning out to be drought year and said "drought can only be ascertained after the end of monsoon season which is after September".

As per IMD rules, drought is declared when average rainfall has a deficit of 25 to 50 per cent.

Singh, meanwhile, added that Central government is well prepared for it.

Overall 87%
Northwest India 76%
Central India 89%
Southern peninsula 87%
Northeast India 93%

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