India is likely to enjoy a normal monsoon this year, a senior weather scientist has said, raising hopes that the country may be able to reduce its dependence on imports for maize, pulses and wheat, among other commodities, after two years of below-average rainfall. The scientist, who works with the India Meteorological Department, spoke on condition of anonymity since the department usually issues its monsoon forecast in April. According to Indian weather forecast models, the El Nino phenomenon, which was responsible for last year’s drought, is expected to turn neutral during the monsoon season. El Nino entails an increase in sea surface temperatures in central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Indian scientists have ruled out the possibility of La Nina conditions, refuting the forecast by some global agencies. La Nina conditions normally lead to higher rainfall in India during the monsoon season.