The country had recorded a rainfall of 97 per cent in 2016 and 98 per cent past year during the season, which runs from June to September.
Rainfall below 90 per cent of the average is considered deficient, above normal at 105-110 per cent, and excessive above 110 per cent.
On April 4, Skymet Weather said the Monsoon 2018 was likely to remain normal at 100 per cent (with an error margin of +/-5 per cent) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September.
Normal rains in last two years helped a rebound in farm growth rate to 6.8% in 2016-17 and an estimated 3% in 2017-18. Since 2012, IMD is also using the dynamical global climate forecasting system (CFS) model developed under the Monsoon Mission to generate forecasts. The IMD predicted 97 per cent chance of near-normal showers.
Rainfall will be 97% of the 50-year average with a 56% probability that rains will be normal to excess, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first stage long range forecast. The dynamic model has forecast a rainfall of 99 per cent plus or minus a model error of five per cent, while the statistical model forecast is 97 per cent plus or minus model error of five per cent.
Detailed forecasts on regional distribution will be made in early June, by when more information on El Niño and the IOD is available.
The date of onset of the monsoon is likely to be announced in the middle of May. Although rains would witness a drop in July and August that will not much affect the farmers.
Successive years of drought in 2014 and 2015 led to a fall in crop production and poor agriculture sector growth rate which fell to a low of -0.8% in 2014-15 and -0.1% in 2015-16.