The seasonal changes in wind direction mean monsoon. In India, however, the word popularly is used to describe the rains which large parts of India receive from June-September. This blog discusses this most important natural phenomenon.
South-West Monsoon Rains Explained
The land mass in the Indian Subcontinent gets heated up by May-June. This causes low pressure in the North & Central Indian heartland. A comparative high pressure exists over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Moist winds thus start blowing from the sea towards the Indian Subcontinent. As the wind blows over the land mass it rises, cools and brings rain. India receives 80% of rainfall through these South-West Monsoon winds.
Monsoon Rains & Economy
Since long monsoon rains have been known as India’s Finance Minister. At the time of independence over 70% of the population was engaged in agriculture. Today approximately 47% of the population is engaged in agriculture and over 60% of the crop sown is monsoon rain dependent. Thus good rainfall brings joy to millions, while floods and poor rainfall cause death and misery to masses. Though contribution of agriculture to the GDP is less than 17% its significance is very high for the economy because if the farmers are poor the demand for all goods and services is subdued and when the farmers earn well then all economic activity gets promoted. Example:
- When the sugarcane or potato farmer in Meerut earns well he buys a new motor cycle, adds another room to his house, buys gold for his daughter’s wedding and so on, thus kick starting other economic activities as well.
Problems of Monsoon Rains & Remedies
We hear of misery caused by heavy rains in Mumbai almost every year; similarly we hear of floods in Brahmaputra and droughts in various parts of India. The solution to these problems lie in improving the drainage system of towns and state of lakes in urban areas, linking of river waters of North & East India with those of the South & West India, more efficient utilization of water and cultivation of appropriate crops.
Benefits of Rainfall
Good monsoon rains are a blessing. They do the following:
- Make the scenery green and improve the environment.
- Help food production and indirectly animal life through increased flora.
- Lower the temperatures over the land and reduce the misery caused by heat to men and animals.
- Increased water in rivers improves hydro-electric power generation.
Monsoon rains have played a major role in the lives of Indians since ancient times. The benefits and problems caused by rains still continue to affect the lives of Indians more than any other natural phenomenon. Rains bring cheer to most Indians!