After two consecutive years of poor monsoon, there is finally something to cheer about. This year, the southwest monsoon has covered the entire country, filling up 91 key reservoirs and helping farmers sow kharif (summer) crops in time. A total of 31 meteorological sub-divisions, accounting for 86% of the country’s geography, have received normal-to-excess rains, with only five sub-divisions reporting deficient rains. The all-important monsoon is critical considering that 70% of India’s 1.25 billion population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. A normal monsoon also acts as a fillip to the rural economy, spurring demand for consumer durables and discretionary products. With the government announcing higher minimum support prices for pulses, the acreage under sowing for crops such as cotton and oilseeds has shown a marked decrease. Given that prices of pulses have shown a 34% increase, a normal monsoon is critical to rein in food inflation that is growing above 8%. But what will be critical though is that the rainy spell continues through the month. If not, all the action will shift to Mint Street.