Monsoons And The Indian Economy - Eastern Mirror
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Monsoons and the Indian Economy

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 22, 2024 12:12 am

For a nation reeling under an unprecedented heat wave which has increased the maximum temperature by 4.5 degree Celsius in the eastern, central and peninsular parts of the country, the forecast of an above normal monsoon may ignite fresh rays of hope. According to experts, weakening of El Nino, a phenomenon responsible for warming of the sea in eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and strengthening of La Nina, which is associated with cooling of ocean water, may bring more rain to India than normal. India received only 820 mm rainfall in 2023, whereas the amount of average annual rainfall in the country is 868.6 mm. This year the country is expected to get six per cent more rain than the annual average.

The above-normal monsoon that is forecast will not only bring respite from the scorching heat, but will also help Indian agriculture immensely, which in turn may further strengthen the country’s economy. It may sound strange, but the fact remains that notwithstanding spectacular progress in different sectors, the agricultural sector in India which accounts for more the 17 per cent of the country’s economy, still largely depends on rainfall as more than half of the cultivable area in India is devoid of irrigation facilities. As a result, farmers get good yield only during normal monsoons and suffer immensely at times of drought or below average monsoon. Thus, if predictions made by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) hold true, it will definitely bring much needed relief to those in the agriculture business. However, it should be noted that due to the prevailing heatwave conditions, grain production in the country may record nearly a 15-20 per cent fall, which can worsen the food inflation which the country has been experiencing for the last few months.

In-order to reap maximum advantage of an above normal monsoon, the government should start preparations. These preparatory measures should be made keeping inclusive development in mind as the country’s rural population is highly dependent on agriculture for livelihood. This is why a good harvest will always strengthen the rural economy which in turn can provide the much needed push to the country’s economy. An important factor to note is that more than two-thirds of India’s population (over 833 million people) live in rural India. This simple statistic points to the need to adopt more rural-centric policies than policies focused on urban areas. Moreover, global warming has become a reality and is threatening to rob livelihoods of the rural populace. Thus, urgent steps should be taken to prevent the rural populace from falling prey to climate change. With the weather becoming more erratic, it is crucial that the country establishes  rain water harvesting systems to store excess rain water for future use. Effort should also be made to prevent ground water levels from getting depleting by putting a blanket ban on unauthorised bore wells. A combination of strategic and innovative measures must be implemented to protect the interests of Indian citizens and the economy from monsoon fluctuations.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 22, 2024 12:12:22 am
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