NEW DELHI: Annual monsoon
rains, crucial to India's economy, covered the country on Wednesday but
remained 23 percent below average, sparking fears of their impact on
two cereal-producing states.
The pounding rains that sweep
across the continent from June to September are dubbed the "economic
lifeline" of India, which is one of the world's leading producers of
rice, sugar, wheat and cotton.
"The monsoon is covering the
entire country today with parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan (states)
receiving heavy rains," India's chief meteorologist L S Rathore told
reporters in New Delhi.