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India likely to have near-normal monsoon

April 13, 2011 11:44 IST

La Nina, a weather pattern arising in the Pacific Ocean that causes heavy rain in South Asia, is assuming a neutral condition, senior India Meteorological Department officials have said.

This suggests the country will have a near-normal southwest monsoon.

The officials, however, refused to comment on the monsoon forecast for the year, which the department is expected to announce on April 20.

A near-normal monsoon is defined as 98-102 per cent of the long-period

average. Agriculture accounts for 14 per cent of India's gross domestic product.

A normal monsoon is expected to ease concerns over high food inflation.

Also, as a majority of farmers depend on rain to irrigate their fields, the monsoon has serious implications for rural incomes and, in turn, the demand for cars, two-wheelers and consumer goods.

Monsoon forecasting in India is carried out by different organisations whose inputs are considered by IMD.

These include Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and Space Applications Centre.

Pravda Godbole in Pune