India is facing a grim prospect of second consecutive drought in many parts of the country as the meteorological department has predicted the southwest monsoon rains to be just 88% of the average amount of precipitation.
This forecast is one of the bleakest predictions made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and first time since it began making countrywide forecasts in 1988 that a drought year is being forewarned.
Last year’s monsoon too brought it just 88% of average expected rainfall and another drought in consecutive year will make things worse for the Central government as the farm sector will take a big hit which was suffering from the double impact of poor rains last year and unseasonal rains in March-April this year.
The weather forecast is going to have adverse impact on the prices front especially on food items. Moreover, rural demand will be muted due to poor rainfall. There will be upward pressure on the prices of vegetables and pulses, while the sale of vehicles like two-wheelers and tractors will fall drastically.
It may be noted that two consecutive droughts are generally rare and occurred in India only thrice since 1900 and the last we had it in 1986-87 when growth was severely affected.
The first countrywide forecast was issued by IMD in April predicting a ‘below normal’ monsoon with 93% rainfall of long-term average due to the El-Nino effect – a weather condition in the Pacific Ocean that will weaken the monsoon activity in the Indian subcontinent.
Further, in the last one month the El Nino has grown stronger and is expected to slow down monsoon impact thus resulting in reduced rainfall this season.