Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stages

Rainfall was low across most parts of the country, but the eastern region caught up. Adequate rains for the rest of the season will be critical for preserving soil moisture and shoring up reservoir levels for the rabi season

Published: Aug 17, 2023 01:35:12 PM IST
Updated: Aug 22, 2023 03:36:02 PM IST

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stagesThe distribution of rainfall so far in the month is broadly in line with IMD’s forecast of ‘below normal’ rainfall for pan-India, with heavy rains in the east. Image: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images
 
Rainfall has slowed down over the past week, except in the eastern region. Most regions of the country faced deficient rains, compared with the corresponding ‘normal’ week, according to an analysis by Barclays based on Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) data.
 
The cumulative surplus through last week is exhausted, with overall rainfall at the normal level for the period June 1 to August 10, says Barclays. After a deficient rainfall throughout June and July, the eastern region seems to be playing catchup as it has now seen excess rains in the first two weeks of August. However, cumulatively, rains in the eastern region still remain deficient.  
 
The distribution of rainfall so far in the month is broadly in line with IMD’s forecast of ‘below normal’ rainfall for pan-India, with heavy rains in the east.

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stagesInfographics: Kapil Kashyap
 
According to IMD, the monsoon trough lies along the foothills of the Himalayas and is likely to gradually shift southwards and lie near its normal position from August 18.  
 
Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stages
 
Also read: Rain watch for Aug 3-9: Monsoon slows down, pulses sowing still lagging

With a dip in rainfall over the past two weeks, the pace of increase in reservoir storage levels also seems to have come off slightly. As of August 10, storage in key reservoirs stood at 62 percent of total capacity. The reservoir level is lower than last year (at 94 percent of the available capacity), but higher than the historical average for this point in the season. 

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stages
 
Kharif sowing of cotton, coarse cereals, sugarcane and oilseeds is now close to completion, with overall sowing already above 90 percent of ‘normal’ area as of August 4, according to Barclays. For rice, sowing is nearly complete in in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, but lagging in West Bengal by a wider margin. The sowing of pulses continues to lag.  

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stages
 
“To address the rise in domestic cereal prices, the central government has been selling stocks in the open markets through e-auctions. However, these measures have garnered a muted response for rice, while offtake for wheat has been better. Accordingly, the government reduced the reserve rice price this week to help the auctions to gain traction,” says Barclays.  
 
Forbes India's Rain Watch series simplifies rainfall status, water reservoir levels and sowing pattern of kharif crops, using data analysis by Barclays.

Rain watch for Aug 10-16: Monsoon pauses, kharif sowing nears final stages

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