Monsoon rainfall in likely to remain normal in the remaining two months of the season, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said, setting the stage for a good kharif harvest and strong rural demand. Rainfall in the four-month season since June 1 has been normal in most parts of the country, barring the southern states. It has been normal or excessive in the key crop-growing states in northern and western India although the past 10 days have seen relatively weak rainfall. “Quantitatively, the rainfall over the country as a whole during the second half of the season is likely to be 100% of LPA with a model error of ±8%,” the IMD said on Tuesday. This year’s monsoon initially faced the threat of El Nino, which disrupts rainfall patterns across the globe, but the threat subsided. The seasonal rainfall forecast remains unchanged since June. “The seasonal (June to September) rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be normal (96% -104% of Long Period Average) as predicted in June,” IMD said. Receding fears of formation of El Nino had led the IMD to upgrade its seasonal forecast from 96% to 98% of LPA in June. Presently, global and national forecasters have allayed fears of El Nino disrupting the southwest monsoon, as it is likely to remain neutral through this year. “Neutral ENSO conditions are most likely till 2018 spring season with high probability (80-90%) till end of 2017,” the national forecaster said. Rainfall in August is likely to be around 99% of long-period average, with a model error of +/-9%, as forecasted in June.
India’s farm sector received foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs 354.77 crore during April-May this year, Parliament was informed on Tuesday. The data in this regard was placed before the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Agriculture S S Ahluwalia. As per the data, the country had received total 515.49 crore FDI in the agriculture sector during the 2016-17 fiscal, as against Rs 553.14 crore in the previous year. In 2014-15, the FDI in the farm sector stood at Rs 365.31 crore, the minister said in a written statement. “A number of farmers have benefited directly and indirectly from FDI received in agriculture,” he added.
The government’s expenditure went up 27 per cent in April-June of the current fiscal to over Rs 6.50 lakh crore as a result of Budget advancement by a month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, he said the advancement of the Budget by a month to February 1 was intended to utilise the full working season, including the first quarter (April-June of 2017-18), to step up expenditure. Previously when the budget got approved in mid-May, the spending would start only in the second quarter. This year, the Budget was presented on February 1 and Parliament approved it before the start of the fiscal year on April 1. The total expenditure of the Union government during the first quarter is Rs 6,50,731 crore, which is 30.3 per cent of the amount budgeted for 2017-18 (Budget Estimate or BE) as against Rs 5,11,833 crore (25.9 per cent of BE 2016-17) for the corresponding period of the previous year, Jaitley said. The government had brought forward the Budget presentation to provide allocation to the departments from the first day of the new financial year, he said. According to the data, spendings as a percentage of BE in the April-June quarter in 2017 increased for 32 central ministries, including agriculture, defence, home, mines and Panchayati Raj, compared with the first three months of 2016.