Monday, November 07, 2011

India needs reinforced Met Dept

Monsoons are very important to Indian economy because 60% Indian population is depend on agriculture and agriculture share is around 15% in total GDP. Most of Indian farming is depending on monsoons only…. that’s why historically Indian economy used to be called as “Monsoon economy”. Generally Indian monsoon season starts from June to September, but this year southern part of India has heavy deficit in rainfall and Andhra Pradesh has experienced the drought condition. The Estimated yield loss in Andhra Pradesh was 40 lakhs of acres and some of the other regions information yet to be received. Andhra Pradesh government recently announced drought ridden mandals at about 450- 500 which were identified with 50- 60 percent crop losses.

As per official figures there was 60% deficit in North-East monsoon rains in Andhra Pradesh and the loss was 2000 crores of rupees to farmers. India’s 60% farming depends on rains and almost 40% food grains come from these areas only. If the monsoon fails, it’s going to be negative impact on national GDP through agriculture share, Inflation goes up and food prices will be volatile. We can’t blame the Mother Nature but we have Meteorological department to predict the rains, therefore the farmers may select the crops according to that. If the predictions go wrong the farmers will in trouble, that’s what happened in 2009. In 2009, The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was forecasted the monsoons as normal, few months later it revised the earlier predictions and announced that the rains would be a little lower than normal but actually there was terrible drought.

This year also same as 2009, IMD’s initial predictions were normal, second forecast was below normal but finally Andhra Pradesh has witnessed a drought and ultimately cost paid by the farmers is millions of rupees. Why the Met department is unable to give accurate predictions, what kind of technology they are using?....... I have no idea.
Seven years ago, when I first browse the weather website ( to know the weather forecast in New Jersey… that’s so accurate. I admired and dreamt that one day our Indian Met department will give weather forecast as accurate as US Weather report. But still our Indian meteorological department is inefficient in accurate long term predictions.

Yes…. it’s too difficult to predict the weather in long range, but if the predictions are continuously wrong that means something wrong with the Met department technologies, It must update its technology to correct the failures. As India entered into a deal with USA on Nuclear technologies, why can’t the Ministry of Earth Science approach USA for weather related technologies for better predictions? I hope that the Met department will modernize the equipment to serve better since most of Indians are agriculture dependents. If they were informed accurately about the weather they can plan the crops and at lest they can mitigate their losses by cutting down the farm investments. 

To encounter the drought, our agriculture scientists should focus on developing the climate resistant crops which are helpful to reduce the risk and food prices instability.
Our governments have been experimenting cloud seeding and artificial rains but those are all nonsuccess models and very expensive. If any drought conditions exist, the governments need to have contingency plans like special budget allocations, subsidies and maintaining buffer stock of food grains to encounter it. However, we hope that IMD will give accurate weather forecasts and such forecasts will give guidelines to farmers to select and plan the crops according to anticipated weather conditions.