The south-west monsoon covered the entire country on Friday after a four-day delay from the normal schedule, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
However, the good spell in the first two weeks of July has improved the water reservoir level, which is expected to accelerate the sowing of kharif crops and narrow the gap in acreage vis-a-vis the corresponding period of last year.
The area under kharif has been by down only 7% year-on-year as of July 19, having improved from a 27% fall until a fortnight ago, showed the latest Agriculture Ministry data. Barring cotton, where the area is up 4%, the sowing of all other crops are still lower from last year.
After witnessing the worst rainfall deficiency in five years in June, monsoon showers pick-ed up pace, touching over 97% of the long period average since July 1, IMD data showed..
'Under the influence of shear zone and strong winds at lower levels over southern parts of west coast, active to vigorous monsoon conditions with widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places are very likely to occur over Kerala and coastal and south interior Karnataka mainly during July 19-22,' IMD said. The weather bureau has predicted 95% and 99% monsoon rainfall in July and August, respectively.