The southwest monsoon's progress has slowed down as it has not made any progress for the past five days, the weathermen on Thursday said.
"For the fifth consecutive day, the Northern Limit of Monsoon has not made any advancement.
“It continues to pass through Veraval, Surat, Ujjain, Narsinghpur, Raipur, Kalingapatnam, Krishnanagar and Darjeeling.
"The cyclonic circulations in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are still in the process of getting organised.
Only after the weather systems organise that we can expect NLM to advance further.
"Monsoon usually arrives in Bihar by June 10 and over east Uttar Pradesh by June 15 but with NLM remaining static, further delay is expected in the onset of monsoon over these areas," Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency said.
However, next week could see some respite from the heat as monsoon is again expected to become active.
"The movement of monsoon is not like a train. It does experience some phases of lull. But it is expected to get active by next week," India Meteorological Department Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi, Y S Chowdary, Minister of State for Earth Sciences, said the monsoon's progress is ‘satisfactory’ until now.
IMD also said that over the 48 hours, the temperature in northwest India, which includes Delhi and parts of NCR, will see a rise by over two degrees and fall thereafter.
Overall, the country has received 11 per cent rain than its normal limit with east and northeast India and central India getting an excess rainfall of 16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
The southern peninsula has witnessed a normal rainfall whereas northwest India has received seven per cent below normal rainfall.
The MET department has already made a forecast that India will receive deficient rainfall this year.
The timely onset of the South-West monsoon is crucial for sowing of kharif (summer) crops such as paddy and a deficit in rainfall may hit rice output.
Agriculture, which contributes only 15 per cent to India’s gross domestic product but employs about 60 per cent of the population, is heavily dependent on monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Last year, the country had received 12 per cent less rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds.
Because of poor monsoon, agriculture growth stood at 0.2 per cent in 2014-15 fiscal. According to government's estimate, total foodgrain production has declined to 251.12 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes last year.
Image: A man uses a plastic sheet to guard against a downpour while riding his trishaw in Chandigarh. Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters