The Daily Fix: The monsoon forecast is that rare bit of good news India desperately neededThe Latest: Top stories of the day
1. India and the United States have in-principle come to an agreement over military logistics that will see the countries using each other’s bases.
2. The Kerala High Court has banned noise-generating fireworks at places of worship between sunset and sunrise after the Kollam tragedy saw 110 people killed.
3. India’s men’s hockey team beat Pakistan 5-1 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup putting India at second place in the table.

The Big Story: Silver lining

The Indian Meteorological Department gave India some much-needed good news on Tuesday, providing its monsoon forecast much earlier than usual with the prediction that India is likely to see an above-average rainy season this year. The Met department’s qualitative forecast suggested India will get 106% of the Long Period Average, which is the average of rain received during the monsoon between 1951 and 2000.

This chimes in with the prediction made by India’s only private forecaster, Skymet, which also predicted 106% of the LPA, as well as researchers at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, which concluded that there was more than 50% chance of an above-average rainy season. The IMD’s forecast comes with a margin of error of +/-5%, and the department has in the recent past managed to stay within this, meaning even in the worst case scenario, India is likely to see at least a normal monsoon.

The forecast should come as a relief to a country that has seen two consecutive deficient monsoon years and the spectre of water riots in places like Latur in Maharashtra, currently facing the worst drought in a century. It will also bring relief to the government, concerned about the rural economy falling off a cliff if rains were bad again.

But the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity. If indeed it ends up being an excellent monsoon, it should provide even more impetus for the government to use the cushion and move ahead with efforts to make the country and particularly the agriculture industry less dependent on the vagaries of the clouds for survival.

The Big Scroll
After two droughts and the threat of water riots, all eyes turn to India’s monsoon. Nayantara Narayanan explains why the Indian monsoon isdevilishly difficult to predict.

Politicking & Policying
1. Outstation students at the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, continue to protest, demanding the shifting of the institute.
2. The Kashmir valley was also tense after two protestors were killedwhen the Army opened fire in Handwara.
3. The Maharashtra Assembly has passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill which allows dance bars to re-open in the state, subject to a number of conditions.
4. Two people died and 15 more were injured in a stampede said to have been caused by heat and fatigue, at an election rally organised by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s party.

Punditry
1. Tara Copp in Stars & Stripes writes about the gaps between Washington and Delhi exposed by US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit.
2. Ashish K Mishra in Mint tells the story of the paid-to-tweet cottage industry on Twitter.
3. Online video might end up creating an entirely new set of winnerswe haven’t even thought of, writes Vanita Kohli-Khandekar in theBusiness Standard.

Don’t Miss
Mridula Chari points out that Maharashtra’s Latur city actually needs 100 times more water than the amount delivered by train on Tuesday.

 “I have my doubts about how long we can continue to do this,” Diwan said. “This is not a permanent solution. At some point people in Sangli and Miraj, which is also drought prone, will think whether it is possible to give water to the city.”

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