India's monsoon rains cover entire country: IMD official

Commuters walk on waterlogged railway tracks after getting off a stalled train during heavy monsoon rains in Mumbai, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s annual monsoon, which delivers more than 70% of the country’s rainfall, covered the entire country on Friday afternoon, four days behind schedule, an official from India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where about 55% of all arable land is reliant on rainfall and the farm sector employs nearly half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

India may face drought this year if rains do not pick up in the coming weeks, with many regions in the country receiving deficient rainfall.

Overall, India has received 18% below average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1, the IMD’s website showed.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan. Editing by Jane Merriman