rain sbi state bank of india monsoon early monsoon delayed monsoon imd skymet
Labourers plant saplings in a paddy field on the outskirts of the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar July 19, 2014 (Representational image).Reuters file

The significance of monsoon and its arrival with bated breath by drought-hit India has been well captured by a note released by the State Bank of India (SBI), India's biggest lender by assets.

"'Sawan ko aane do' is the heartfelt expectation of all Indians at this moment. After two successive   years of deficit rainfall during the ensuing monsoon at 106% of the Long Period Average. A normal monsoon will also help in containing prices at low levels," Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India, said in her foreword to the April-May issue of SBI Ecowatch. 

"Sawan ko aane do" is the title of a Hindi film and means "let the rains come".

The note dwells at length on the importance of the June-September monsoon for India and its impact on overall economic growth.

"Around 60 percent of the cropped area in India is rain-fed. Given the fact that around 75 percent of rainfall occurs during June September period, the fate of the kharif crops depends on the Southwest monsoon," the note says.

The country has suffered two consecutive years of drought, triggering a chain of problems starting from water scarcity and loan defaults to suicides by farmers.

The note says that due to deficit rainfall, India's foodgrain production declined to 252 million tonnes and 253 million tonnes in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, from a record high of 265 million tonnes in 2013-14.

Though agriculture constitutes only about 15 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP), about half of its population depends on it for a livelihood since about 68 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas. 

Besides its impact on agriculture, a good monsoon also stimulates a range of industries, such as automobiles, gold and consumer products, both fast-moving and durables.

As widely reported, the onset of monsoon is likely to be delayed by a week to June 7, according to an update by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the official weather forecaster.

A few days ago, private forecaster Skymet had predicted the Southwest monsoon to hit India by Friday this week.

India has pinned its hopes on a good monsoon to spur its economic growth, apart from reining in inflation that also majorly determines the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

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