Southwest Monsoon to remain below normal: Govt.

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New Delhi, June 24 (ANI): Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Prithiviraj Chavan on Wednesday said that the Southwest Monsoon is likely to remain below normal level vis-'-vis the original prediction and conventional rainfall.

The second and revised forecast has predicted near-normal rainfall with 96 per cent rain of the long-term average, which the government officials say, may vary and even belie the hopes.

"IMD's (Indian Meteorological Department) long range forecast update for the 2009 south west monsoon season i.e. June to September is that the rainfall is likely to be below normal. Quantitatively monsoon season rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 93 per cent of the long period average," said Prithviraj Chavan in the national capital.

Over the four broad geographical regions of the country, rainfall for the 2009 South-West Monsoon Season is likely to be 81% of its LPA over North-West India, 92% of its LPA over North-East India, 99% of its LPA over Central India and 93% of its LPA over South Peninsula, all with a model error of 1 8 %.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, there is a high probability of El Nino weather pattern this year.

El Nino, a weather condition marked by warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean waters, can impede the progressing monsoon or even lead to a drought.

The June-September monsoon rains are very vital for the nation's economy, as two-thirds of the country's population depends on rain-fed agriculture in the absence of extensive modern irrigation facilities.

The news about below normal monsoon rains has upset the policy makers, who were upbeat about the bright prospects of the farm sector. (ANI)

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