Rainfall and the economy

Business Standard

Content from the Brookings Institution India Center is now archived. After seven years of an impactful partnership, as of September 11, 2020, Brookings India is now the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, an independent public policy institution based in India.

The first forecast for the south-west monsoon this year caused concern. It projected aggregate rainfall during the June-September period to be 93 per cent of normal, somewhat below the conventional range of 96-104 per cent. This projection would not have attracted much attention, but it comes after a succession of rain-related problems. First, the 2014 south-west monsoon was severely deficient during the first half of the season. Second, there has been significant and widespread abnormal rainfall during the rabi season, with attendant crop losses and distress amongst rural communities. Further, this is going to be an El Niño year, increasing the probability of rainfall deficiency. Should we be worried?

The answer to that question needs to be based on