Monsoon season has produced floods in the northwest and the northeast India while South India has suffered from a rainfall deficit. Examine the possible reasons and its implications for the economy.

Published: September 27, 2017

Due to climate change and variation in rainfall pattern, Monsoon season in India sometime leads to floods in the northwest and the northeast region, on the other hand, southern parts of India face drought-like scenario due to a rainfall deficit.
Reasons for this pattern could be:

  • Climate change is one of the prominent reason. Due to this there is a variation in rainfall intensity, duration, frequency and spatial distribution of Monsoon
  • Another factor is warming of the land in the northwest portion of India which leads to the creation of a pressure force which drives strong near-surface winds from the Arabian Sea. This phenomenon can compensate for the weak monsoon circulation in the reason, however, it also decreases the monsoon depressions from the Bay of Bengal, leading to poor rainfall.
  • Increasing floods in countries like China and Nepal leads to overflowing of trans-border Rivers which greatly affects North-East India
  • Apart from that due to ocean warming El Nino and La Nina event also influence the rainfall pattern. However, it is not clear to what extent these factors exert influence on Monsoon.

Implications on the economy:
Since agriculture is largely dependent on rainfall, poor rainfall means low agricultural productivity, which will lead to food inflation as well as create problem for food security. In order to keep prices under control government may need to import, which will impact agricultural trade surplus.
Apart from that poor rainfall means more electricity consumption for irrigation leading to pressure on the power sector. Also due to weak rainfall, people will look for other work opportunities, so the government will have to spend more on welfare initiatives like MNREGA.
On the other hand, extreme rainfall will lead to the destruction of the crop, the flood will chock the local economy. This may also lead to food inflation, for example, the rice-growing areas in states like Bihar, West Bengal have been affected by recent floods.
Apart from that in the case of flood and drought government will have to divert resources towards affected areas. This will also adversely affect people’s purchasing power.
The importance of proper Monsoon from the perspective of Indian economy can be realized from the fact that Monsoon season is considered as India’s real finance Minster. The focus should be on water harvesting, agroforestry, climate-smart agriculture, drop resistance cropping pattern with crop diversity. With proper initiatives, the impact of variation in rainfall pattern can be mitigated.

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