MUMBAI, July 18 (Reuters) - India’s monsoon rains were 20% below average in the week ending on Wednesday, as rainfall was scanty over the central, western and southern parts of the country, the weather office said, raising concerns over the output of summer-sown crops.
Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth, as about 55% of India’s arable land is rain-fed, and agriculture forms about 15% of a $2.5 trillion economy that is the third biggest in Asia.
Soybean- and cotton-growing central regions received 68% less rainfall in the week, while the rubber- and tea-growing southern state of Kerala received 71% lower rainfall, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.
Overall, India has received rains that were 16% less than average since the monsoon season began on June 1. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)