Caught in a vicious grip of inflation, the government on Wednesday announced that the south-west monsoon, crucial for the nation's agricultural well being, would be near normal this season.
"India Meteorological Department's long range-forecast for the 2008 south-west monsoon season is that the rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be near normal," Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters in New Delhi.
Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall is likely to be 99 per cent of the long period average with a model error of 5 per cent.
This year's forecast utilises both the statistical and dynamic models to arrive at the estimates as earlier method of relying on the statistical model alone had led to inaccurate predictions.
"The statistical model works well only in northwest, central India, northern India and western India, while the dynamic model works well for peninsular India and the northeastern," Sibal said.
Last year weather scientists had forecast 95 per cent rainfall of the long period average using the statistical model but the country had received 105 per cent rainfall.
The La Nina factor or the cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean too is positive this year, an indication towards better monsoon rains in the country, weather scientists said.
"We believe that La Nina will be effective and will peter down in the next three months," Madhavan Rajeevan, director of the Pune-based National Climate Centre, said.