June 1 also marks the official onset of rains in the country."Monsoon is likely to hit the Kerala coast on June 5," Union Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan today said."Conditions are becoming favourable for the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala around June 5," said an IMD statement.

Last year too, monsoon was delayed and hit the Kerala coast on June 6.

The Met Department revised its forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent Long Period Average (LPA), with north-west region of the country expected to be hit the most, Union Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan told reporters today.

"I have to say this with a heavy heart that as per our revised forecast, India will receive 88 per cent of rainfall of the LPA," said Vardhan, who also holds the portfolio of Science and Technology.

In April, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast that monsoon rains would be 93 percent of the average, which is categorised as "below normal". Now, with the revised projection of 88 per cent, the monsoon is categorised as "deficient".

"We have been working to ensure that the forecast is right. But this time let's pray to God that the revised forecast does not come true," said the minister.

He said that in the last Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already asked different ministries and departments to gear up for such an exigency.

The North-West region which includes Delhi NCR, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will be affected as per the forecast with it receiving around 85 per cent of rainfall of the LPA. The region had experienced less rainfall last year.

The projection of low rainfall, which may be attributed to the El-Nino phenomena, is likely to trigger fears about drought situation in some parts of the country.

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