RTTNews - India's monsoon rains were 64 percent below normal in the week ended August 5, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Rains were 25% below the 50- year average, as only seven weather zones received normal rains during the week. Weekly rainfall was scanty in 23 areas, deficient in 4 zones, while only 2 regions received excess rains.

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar conceded that the situation was serious and added that the government has taken various steps to provide relief to vulnerable sections.

On the progress of monsoon, Pawar said: If August and September go well, we will see a different situation. It is only a test of time. He dismissed suggestions that futures trading on commodity exchanges was responsible for price hike in sugar and pulses.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com