Q How accurate is [India Meteorological Department] IMD’s prediction?
Predictions are always done based on the best science available, data collected and monitored at that point of time. It is the most representative assessment we have made based on our best tools available, and we feel that it will turn out to be right.
Q Do you think good monsoon has the effect on our economy and thus it puts additional pressure on IMD for accurate prediction?
Pressure is there to predict accurately. Monsoon contributes up to 4 percent to the GDP. But in terms of livelihood, 60 percent of the population depends on agriculture and thus it becomes important. So in that perspective, it is very important to have an accurate prediction.
Q How is IMD competing with private players?
- Private players cannot compete with IMD
- Private players can work with IMD and pass on the benefits to the Nation
We need not worry about those assessments. In my opinion, nobody has a better knowledge base, infrastructure support base and kind of mechanism built for forecasting like IMD. So private players cannot compete with IMD. In my opinion, instead of competing with IMD, one should work in complementarity with IMD. There are many sectors where IMD is not serving like energy sector and other transport sectors, oil fields and other new venues where customized information is required. Private sectors can work in those areas which are not supplemented by IMD. By taking the help of IMD and working with IMD, private players and country can benefit.
Q Do you mean to say that IMD can provide services in all those sectors?
IMD’s priority is to work for public safety and socio-economic benefits of the country. We can provide services to all such sectors but that is not the priority area at the moment. Our priority is to work for public safety and socio-economic benefits of the country in a broader sense. Since demand is coming from other sectors especially the energy sector, private players can supplement the need there.
Q Do you see the role of IMD changes as per demand changes?
- Re-positioning IMD depending on the requirement
We reposition IMD every year depending upon the requirement. Till now we were giving agro-based weather advisory service to the agriculture sector. But this time we are bringing the distinction between rain-fed agriculture and the irrigated agriculture. Rain-fed agriculture is critical. If you remember, in 2015 because of the scarcity of rain, rain-fed yields like oil seed, cereals, and pulses production were low that resulted in the high price for these commodities. But it came down because of good rainfall in 2016. 50-60 percent of the agriculture community in India depends on rain-fed agriculture. So we are are focusing in this area.
Q How is IMD expanding in terms of physical infrastructure?
There is a life cycle for every observing system. Many of them are 5-6 years old. We have a mechanism of replacing them and updating them based on the requirement.