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Monsoon likely to be near normal this year says IMD

New Delhi: Monsoon is likely to be 'near normal' this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Monday, even as the risk of an El Nino weather pattern looms.

Monsoon is likely to be 96 per cent of the long period average (LPA), a senior official of the IMD said. LPA is the average of rainfall between 1951 and 2000, which is 89 cm. Anything between 90-95 per cent of LPA falls under the 'below normal' category.

The forecast has a margin of error of 5 percent, according to the weather office.

The monsoon is critical to India's agriculture as it accounts for more than 70 per cent of the country's annual rainfall and fills reservoirs that help irrigate crops. It shapes the livelihood of millions and influences food prices. Deficient showers in the country, the world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and cotton, often leads to lower crop output and higher imports of commodities like edible oils.

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