Monsoon deficit slumps further to 21 per cent

As the monsoon prepares to withdraw from the north of the country in the next few days, the India Meteorological Department has announced that the deficiency in the cumulative rainfall for the season as a whole increased marginally from 20 to 21 per cent over the past week.

"The cumulative seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole is now 21 per cent below the average," the department said in a release. The absence of rain in the northwest and central regions has increased rainfall deficiency for the entire country, it said.

"Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, the cumulative seasonal rainfall was excess in two, normal in 11 and deficient in 23 sub divisions. Considered district-wise, during the period of 1 June to 16 September, the rainfall was excess in 8 per cent, normal in 35, deficient in 50 and scanty in 7 per cent of the total districts of the country, it said.

The IMD also said that the southwest monsoon is likely to withdraw from western Rajasthan towards the second half of this week. "Fairly widespread rainfall activity is likely over northeast and south peninsular India during the week. Scattered rainfall activity is expected over Gangetic plains, West Bengal and coastal Orissa. Subdued rainfall activity is likely over central and northwest India," it said.

Rainy days in northwest India at the beginning of the last week slightly improved cumulative seasonal rainfall in the region, which now was at minus 32 per cent as against 34 per cent for the week before that.

The northwest region, comprising Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan were the worst hit by poor rainfall this year, with the deficiency in the cumulative rainfall continuing to be 32 per cent as of Wednesday.