Respite in India
Hallelujah for the Rains

El Niño was expected to bring dusty danger to India this year by stopping the country’s annual monsoons, which many of India’s 1.3 billion people rely on for their food to grow. Happily, the climate predictions were wrong, and India is getting its much needed rains, as Bloomberg reports:

The monsoon’s revival from mid-July has boosted rice and soybean crops, curbing food price gains and easing concerns of shortages. India’s central bank has said it’s closely watching the rains after identifying a monsoon shortfall as the biggest risk to the economy, where agriculture accounts for about 15 percent of gross domestic product. The country depends on rain to water half of its crop land. […]

Halfway through the four-month rainy season that began in June, the first El Nino since 2010 has failed to make much of a dent. Unusual warming of the Indian Ocean may have helped counter the impact of El Nino on monsoon and aided better rain, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC. The India Meteorological Department last month predicted monsoon rain would fall short, reaching 88 percent of a 50-year average.

It’s excellent news that fears of a crippling shortfall in India have proven ill-founded. Millions of people won’t go hungry, millions of parents will be able to pay school fees for their kids. It’s also good news for Modi, who will have a somewhat easier time getting reforms through parliament—a quest in which he could really stand to catch a break—if the economy is doing well.

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