India likely to have normal monsoon in 2012 - farm secretary

NEW DELHI Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:14pm IST

Women carry scraps from a dump yard against the backdrop of monsoon clouds, on the eve of World Environment Day, on the outskirts of Agartala, June 4, 2011. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey/Files

Women carry scraps from a dump yard against the backdrop of monsoon clouds, on the eve of World Environment Day, on the outskirts of Agartala, June 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jayanta Dey/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is likely to have normal monsoon in 2012 and the government will give a detailed region-wise forecast on Thursday, Farm Secretary P.K. Basu said on Monday.

The June-September monsoon, vital for agricultural output and economic growth, irrigates around 60 percent of farms in India, the world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton. Agriculture accounts for about 15 percent of India's nearly $2 trillion economy, Asia's third biggest.

Last week a top weather official told Reuters that monsoon is likely to have average rainfall in 2012 despite fears the El Nino weather pattern may emerge in the second half of the season.

According to the state-run India Meteorological Department classification, rains between 96-104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres is considered normal.

(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta)

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