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Monsoon to be deficient; forecast downgraded to 88 percent

IANS 02 Jun 2015, 23:50:58 PM IST

New Delhi:  The country is expected to receive only 88 percent of the long-term average rainfall this year, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday terming this year's monsoons as "below normal" to "deficient".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is "monitoring the situation closely", has directed all concerned ministries to make necessary preparations and take action so that the common man is not affected, he added.

"The latest forecast is bothering me as the rainfall this monsoon is likely to be below normal to deficient at 88 percent -- plus or minus four percent -- of the normal (average) rainfall, which is down from 93 percent in April," Harsh Vardhan said.

The northwest region, which includes Delhi, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, will receive 85 percent of the normal (average) rainfall, with an error margin of 8 percent points, the minister added.

He said the probability of monsoon remaining below average -- rainfall between 96 and 104 percent of the long-term average (the average annual rainfall for the period 1951-2000) -- had risen from 68 percent in April to 93 percent now.

"Let's pray that the forecast does not come true," he said.

In April, the India Meteorological Department had forecast 93 percent of the average rainfall for the country.

The minister blamed El Nino that happens in the equatorial Pacific Ocean as well as climate change due to global warming, as two of the many other reasons behind the forecast.

"EL Nino is definitely one of the reasons and so is climate change," he said.

"The prime minister is monitoring the situation closely," Harsh Vardhan added.