The India Monsoon EMIs in Severe Default!


The South West Monsoon has always been the mainstay of Indian agriculture, being the main source of rainfall accounting for more than 75% of total rainfall in the country every year. Most often than not, the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) forecasts a normal or near-normal monsoon with about -/+ 5% margin of error, and this year (2022) too it had predicted a normal monsoon which, in fact, was supposed to arrive at least a week in advance. And, it did indeed arrive early hitting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by middle of May, and then advancing to Kerala, to Maharashtra and gradually the whole country. Unfortunately, its early arrival hasn’t benefited even Kerala and Maharashtra, patiently queuing up for the early-bird offers,  while venting its wrath in the North East, particularly in the state of Assam creating unprecedented floods in the main city of Guwahati and many other districts. In a few days the monsoon had exceeded its monthly quota of rains in Assam by more than 150% and rained more than 200% of its quota in Guwahati in a few hours. And, it’s still not relenting.

 

As per the latest data released by the IMD the monsoon has been either deficient or severely deficient in 18 states that account for around 54% of the total land mass of the country. Ironically, hoping for the benefits of its early arrival Kerala is suffering from around 55% rain-deficit of the June quota while the next-in-line Maharashtra is 33% deficient. The deficit goes to up to as high as 70% in case of Delhi, covering in its wake most of the northern states. So, where exactly the monsoon is pouring? Obviously, the most indiscriminate downpours falling in severe excess in the North-East and in parts of the Eastern region, and of course, some other scattered areas.

 

The South West Monsoon stays in action for four months, namely June-September, every year. Therefore, we can reasonably call it Equated Monthly Installments (EMI) of rains and hope for its equitable distribution during the period. However, since the last nearly two decades we’ve been witness to the most unjust EMIs; at times, the full EMI quota gets poured out in a matter of hours or in one day as we’ve mentioned earlier for some regions while in other areas the EMIs go into a severe defaulting mode. For the floods in the metros and major cities suffering people blame the municipal authorities for their failure to prevent water logging by not preparing well; but, when a full EMI get spent in a matter of hours, no authorities could possibly hope for prevention, not only in India but all over the globe.

 

Who are to blame for this then? Well, we cannot hope to find easy scapegoats except for the immensely demonstrated wrath of Mother Nature, again and again, as if punishing humankind for its sins spread over centuries. Obviously, the sins of humankind are making this Planet Earth increasingly inhabitable with the waves of heat in terms of a global warming that is going out of control as well as the unprecedented bursts of showers to follow in suit—both making life extremely painful. Are we learning any lessons yet?

 

The IMD goes on to say that the inactive phase of the monsoon in many regions could possibly be due to the non-formation of low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal; but then, this doesn’t explain the worrying shortfalls in some of the Northern, Western and Central states. Hopefully, they say, the active phase would begin in the first week of July 2022 that can help recover the deficits. In that too, there are causes enough for more worries. As per the defaulting EMI syndrome, the compensation could come in unprecedented downpours in one hour on in one day which would again make people suffer. Who can bring the EMIs to an equitable mode? Ever again, if at all?

 


We cannot forget the downpours in the city of Kolkata last year when the delayed monsoon vented its wrath in very concentrated heavy downpours later which resulted in severe water logging all around the city with the water threatening to enter houses in areas that never saw such events. On many occasions earlier I’d mentioned the ‘YesMonsoon, No Monsoon’ situations in the financial capital of Mumbai, and the suffering of the farmers of Maharashtra in many of its drought-prone areas. This time, I’ve seen similar situations in Kolkata, the City of Joy. The Monsoon arrived in North Bengal much in advance and heavy downpours are still continuing there. But there’s absolutely nothing to indicate that the Monsoon has also arrived in South Bengal, particularly in Kolkata. Despite regular weather forecasts for rain on a daily basis, the monsoon is defying it on a daily basis too as if enjoying the prolonged spell of humid and sweating heat in the city. The temperatures are still hell-bent on crossing the 35 degree C on a daily basis, adding more misery to the citizens with humidity of more than 80% that is triggered by the inconsistent light rains. As on June-end Kolkata is suffering a rain-deficit of more than 50%. For the next months of July and August we wait with fingers crossed, because we don’t how the ‘compensation or recovery’ would materialize.

 

Hopefully, as the IMD says, the Monsoon does really become active in the coming days, and most importantly, sticks to a strictly non-defaulting EMI mode. The farmers in many states are still waiting to sow their seeds, and the subsistence living of most of them depends on an equitable distribution of rains in the coming months. Excessive rains damage their plants as well as the lack of it, and we hope the ‘compensation’ doesn’t spill over to more months, because unseasonal rains damage their growing plants with more devastating effects.

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