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Below normal monsoon forecast: Pranab allays fears

June 22, 2011 12:43 IST

MonsoonAllaying concerns over the forecast of 'below normal' monsoon rains during the current season, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday the projections are only a shade below the annual average.

"Let us wait for some more time," Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi on a query related to the monsoon rains.

The India Meteorological Department said on Tuesday monsoon rains are expected to be below normal at 95 per cent of the long period average, with margin for error of plus or minus 4 per cent.

A below normal monsoon can have a serious fallout on agricultural input.

"They (IMD) are saying it would be around 95 per cent and normal average is 98 per cent," the finance minister said.

In April, during the first monsoon forecast, the government had said the monsoon would be normal, with the rainfall likely to be 98 per cent of the long period average, with an margin of error of plus or minus 5 per cent.

Monsoon rains from June to September are a key factor for global commodities markets, as they influence output of various crops in India, which is among the world's leading producers and consumers of wheat, rice, sugar and edible oils.

The monsoon rains are crucial for summer-sown crops, as about 60 per cent of the country's agriculture is dependent on rains.

Because of a widespread drought in 2009-10 and a dearth of rainfall in some parts of the country in 2010-11, paddy production had suffered.

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