If we look at the first 10 days performance of the Southwest Monsoon in June, the countrywide cumulative deficiency has mounted to 46 per cent. (Representative Image)
We are into the second week of June - the first month of the Southwest Monsoon period - but the picture hasn't boded well for the performance of Monsoon so far. In fact, we can say that Monsoon is weak, very weak. First, it was a delayed onset over Kerala (June 8) and now the rains aren't up to the mark.
If we look at the first 10 days performance of the Southwest Monsoon in June, the countrywide cumulative deficiency has mounted to 46 per cent. South India, that accounts for a large share of Monsoon rains, is staring at a deficit of 22 per cent, while East and Northeast India is rain deficient by a whopping 46 per cent.
And taking into account the region wise pre-monsoon deficiencies in the country for the same period, Northwest India is short by 40 per cent, while the deficiency in Central India - one of the rainiest regions - is the maximum at 66 per cent.
Currently, the Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) is nearly stagnant and is passing through Kunnur, Madurai, Central and Northeast Bay of Bengal extending up to Mizoram. Some places in the region have received good rains but they have not been widespread and intense. And for the next one week at least the situation is expected to remain the same despite Monsoon making some advancement.
Therefore, it is advisable that the farmers in states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan, where agriculture is largely rain-fed delay sowing of crops for another one or two weeks.
Meanwhile, a cyclonic storm Vayu has formed in the Arabian Sea. Usually, most cyclones that form in the Arabian Sea don't have a direct bearing on the performance of Southwest Monsoon as they mostly remain in the sea or move in a Northwest direction towards Oman missing the Indian mainland.
But this time the cyclonic storm Vayu, which in all probability will turn into a severe cyclonic storm is going to hit the Gujarat coast in the next 2-3 days. Heavy to extremely heavy rains are likely in Saurashtra and Kutch region of Gujarat like Porbandar, Veraval, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Junagarh and Okha during this period, which could possibly inundate low lying areas. People are advised to take necessary steps like stocking of food items and remaining indoors when the cyclone hits the state with high-velocity winds and rain.
Caution is also being extended to farmers as these heavy rains may damage the standing crops like late sown Bajra and Sesamum. It will also adversely affect the newly sown BT cotton and groundnut crop. While light rain in interior districts like Rajkot, Morbi, Valsad and Surat will benefit the freshly sown crops.
After hitting Gujarat, the cyclone might travel towards Rajasthan and impact the state with some good amounts of rain, particularly parts of South and West Rajasthan. However, it is suggested that sowing of crops in the state is delayed until the last week of June as another spell of rain is not likely till then in the state.
(Jatin Singh is the Managing Director of Skymet. The views expressed are personal)