Much-awaited monsoon hits Indian shores three days ahead of schedule

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The much-awaited southwest monsoon hit the shores of southern Indian state of Kerala on Tuesday, three days ahead of scheduled arrival, bringing cheers to tens of millions in a country where rains are important for farmers, industry and politicians alike.

The monsoon normally reaches Kerala on June 1.

The southwest monsoon has advanced into remaining parts of southeast Arabian Sea, Comorin – Maldives area, entire Lakshadweep, most parts of Kerala, some parts of Tamil Nadu and some more parts of southwest, central and northeast Bay of Bengal, a government statement said.

“Conditions are favorable for further advance of Southwest Monsoon into some parts of central Arabian Sea, remaining parts of Kerala, some parts of coastal and south interior Karnataka, some more parts of east central and northeast Bay of Bengal, and some parts of northeastern states during next 48 hours,” it added.

Monsoons brings about 70 percent of India’s annual rainfall and good rains typically spurs farm output and boosts rural spending critical for the $2.5 trillion economy.

According to the statement, widespread rainfall occurred over Kerala during the past 3-4 days. The 14 rainfall monitoring stations for Monsoon onset over Kerala have reported more than 60% rainfall from May 25.

A well-marked low-pressure area lies over southeast and adjoining east-central Arabian Sea off north Kerala- Karnataka coasts, the statement said, adding that another low-pressure area layover east central and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal. It is likely to concentrate into a depression during next 12 hours.

The early arrival of monsoon rains typically enables farmers to bring forward sowing of crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because nearly half the country’s farmland lacks irrigation.

A strong monsoon that helps control inflation could be a boon to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party ahead of general elections next year. There is also a possibility that the government might try to pul polling ahead to build on the positive impact of monsoon if rains are good.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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