Overall country received 98.1 mm rainfall as compared to 172 mm, which is 43 percent less than normal, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. However, relief might be just days away as monsoon is expected to revive this month.
    
Central India and parts of Northwest India were worst-hit with Gujarat region recording 91 percent less rainfall as compared to normal precipitation.
    
The region recorded 12.2 mm of rainfall as compared to expected rainfall of 138.5 mm in June. Similarly, the Kutch and Saurashtra regions received 22.6 mm of rainfall as compared to 91.6 mm, which is 75 percent less.
    
Marathwada and Central Maharashtra regions also hardly received any rainfall recording 80 percent and 71 percent of deficient rainfall respectively.

Central Maharashtra recorded 44 mm of rainfall as compared to 151 mm of normal precipitation, while Marathwada has recorded just 30.4 mm of rainfall as compared to normal rainfall of 148.9 mm. Central Madhya Pradesh, Konkan and Goa and Vidarbha too received "scanty" rainfall. Similarly, several parts of Northwest India such as East Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Uttar Pradesh have received less rainfall in June.

The only respite is that the monsoon is likely to revive this month. "Southwest monsoon has further advanced over some more parts of Uttar Pradesh, entire Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, some parts of Haryana and Punjab."
    
"Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim and Gangetic West Bengal. Heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha," the IMD said.

"Weather in North India is expected to be less hot this week as Monsoon is lurking around Delhi and northern plains. The week will start with some rain in the plains as well as in the hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
    
"Places along the foothills in Punjab will be cooler with maximums settling in the mid-thirties, Delhi may observe day temperatures settling between 37°C and 39°C," Skymet, a private forecasting agency has said, adding monsoon is expected to hit the region by July 5.
    
The western coast is also likely to receive good rainfall. "Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh which generally remain dry compared to the west coast, may witness rain in the first half of the week due to a feeble trough but may turn dry again. "Mumbai may witness some rain towards the weekend as there is a possibility of the westerly surge increasing from the Arabian Sea," it added.



June monsoon rainfall weakest in five years

The monsoon rainfall was 43 percent below average in June, the weakest first month of the season in five years, the weather office said.

In 2009, the June-September monsoon season was the driest in 37 years with the first month posting a 47 percent below-average rainfall.

Rains were 34 percent above average a year earlier, as the monsoon arrived on the normal date of June 1 and covered half the country by mid-June, two days ahead of schedule.

In 1926, the monsoon recorded its worst first-month shortfall at 48 percent below average in June, but the season ended at seven percent above average, due to a late revival.

This year, the monsoon covered half of the country four days behind schedule following a late onset over the southern Kerala coast. The progress of the monsoon towards the grain bowl belt of northwest India is late by up to ten days.

Monsoon to pick up next week; govt prepared for shortfall
    
Expecting the monsoon to pick up pace next week, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the government is prepared to deal with any eventuality in case of a shortfall.
    
"Met department has forecast monsoon to become active from July 6. This will improve the situation," Singh said.     

The minister said the government is "fully prepared" to tackle any situation arising out of a below-normal monsoon in the country. Contingency plans are ready for 500 districts.
    
Conditions are expected to improve in July and August.
    
Singh said the loss in sowing of kharif crops will be compensated if monsoon rains improve after July 6. He also said the Agriculture Ministry will soon move a cabinet note on providing diesel and seed subsidy if states declare drought in some areas.
    
On rising vegetable prices, Singh said, "We have to improve the supply system, though there is no shortage in onion and potato production in the country."

On Tuesday, a delegation from Maharashtra met the agriculture minister to discuss the monsoon situation.     "Monsoon is delayed. Western India is expected to be worst affected and drought-like situation might prevail in some pockets," Singh told reporters after the meeting.
    
A separate contingency plan will be worked out with state governments for drought-prone regions, such as Vidharbha in Maharashtra, to ensure there is no shortage of drinking water and fodder, he said.
    
"Vidharbha region is drought-prone. We will think of all possible measures to help farmers so that they are not forced to commit suicide due to crop failure," he added.

A delegation-led by Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadanvis updated the minister about the monsoon situation in the Vidharbha region and sought special measures to tackle the possible drought this year.

JPN/Agencies

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