Monsoon seen ending with above-normal rains for the first time in six years

As the southwest monsoon continues longer than expected, all-India rains have stayed above normal, or the long period average, for over six weeks now. 

As of September 18, rains were 5 per cent above normal at an all-India level, and showing little signs of retreat. 

Central India was the most inundated, having witnessed rainfall 23 per cent above normal. Close on it’s heels was the southern peninsula, where cumulative rainfall went from 10 per cent to 12 per cent above normal last week. However, in the northeast, rains were 17 per cent below normal, while in the northwest, the deficiency reduced slightly to 8 per cent. At the state level, it was a tale of two extremes. While Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan continued to receive torrents, the likes of Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh were still severely short.  

Among major kharif growers, states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have seen increased showers, with rainfall between 22-36 per cent above normal this season. In contrast, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have seen rainfall deficiency of 22-42 per cent.  Bihar, which was deficient till the previous week, saw some catch-up last week. 

In a number of states, delayed onset and catch-up of rains has affected sowing. In some others though, farmers have taken up re-sowing or delayed sowing to obviate some potential dent in production.  

That said, rainfall volume data alone does not tell the whole story. We need to consider vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation for a comprehensive perspective on states and crops. 

CRISIL's Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP) does just that. The higher the CRISIL DRIP score, the more adverse the impact of deficient rains. We compare scores not just with the previous year, but also with the last five years' average, to get a more holistic picture.

The latest DRIP scores show stress in 3-4 states. The scores are the highest and also higher than trends in three — West Bengal, Bihar and Haryana — and higher on-year in Uttar Pradesh. This suggests crops there are likely to have suffered. 

One of the limitations of the DRIP framework is that it does not factor in the adverse impact of excess rainfall. States which have seen excess rainfall this season are expected to have seen some negative impact on crops. Similarly, it does not consider the impact of re-sowing of crops.

Crop wise, DRIP shows no major damage to crops prima facie, but on an inter-crop basis, paddy (mainly because of deficient rains in West Bengal and Bihar) and maize (partly because of deficient rains in UP) have recorded the highest scores for the season. 

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