Posts Tagged ‘Monsoon Season’

The Real Finance Minister of India

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Tending the Garden

India’s summer monsoon season begins in June and now that it has arrived, the country’s weather forecasters predict a normal season. This is welcome news as more than two thirds of India’s population of 1.2 billion people are employed in the agricultural sector. Their livelihoods are dependent of a “good” monsoon season, when 80% of the annual rainfall occurs. Owing to the state of irrigation, half of India’s crops depend upon adequate rain.  Indians consider the monsoon to be the country’s real finance minister: a good season drives economic development. And while we typically associate monsoons with India, they affect most other countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand where the severe 2011 monsoon season resulted in catastrophic flooding. It is extraordinary to think of the extent to which most of the world’s population depends on a critical balance of nature: too little rain and we have drought, too much and we have flooding.  A “good” monsoon season is like Goldilocks’ porridge; it is just right. In the United States, where less than 5% of our population works in the agricultural sector, we may be less sensitive to such considerations. I took this photograph, by the way, near the iconic image of India, the Taj Mahal. I was so struck by the image of someone going about her ordinary business near this spectacular monument in marble that I wanted to remember it.