New Delhi:

The Southwest monsoon, which brings more than 75 per cent of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.

The Long Period Average (LPA) will be 98 per cent with an error margin of plus and minus 5 per cent, said M Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Rainfall in Odisha, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Assam is likely to be below normal, but normal or above normal In the rest of the country, he said while releasing the first Long Range Forecast for the four-month rainfall period from June to September.

"The monsoon will be 98 per cent of the LPA which is normal rainfall. It is really good news for the country and will help India have a good agriculture output," Rajeevan said at a virtual press conference.

The news augurs well for economy, battered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Southwest monsoon is one of the primary drivers of the country's economy which is largely based on agriculture and its allied activities. Large parts of the country rely on the four-month rainfall season for agriculture and also for filling reservoirs.

This is the first time the IMD has made a specific forecast on spatial distribution. Rajeevan said the IMD will also issue month-wise forecasts during the next four months.

The country has recorded above normal rainfall for the last two rainfall seasons.

The La Nina and El Nino factors major influence on the Indian monsoon. The former is associated with the cooling of the Pacific waters and brings good rainfall while the latter is linked to the heating of Pacific waters and could lead to deficient precipitation.

"There are less chances of formation of an El Nino," Rajeevan said.

LPA, the average of the season's rainfall across the country from 1961-2010, is 88 cm.