srains Annual monsoon rains have progressed to parts of western and central India, easing fears of millions of desperate farmers after two straight years of drought, the weather department said. Farmers rely on the monsoon rains, which hit the Kerala coast every year and then sweep across the country, to water their crops and replenish dams and reservoirs. The arrival of the monsoon is always keenly watched in India, but even more so this year as much of the country reels from the drought.
  / AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE
srains Annual monsoon rains have progressed to parts of western and central India, easing fears of millions of desperate farmers after two straight years of drought, the weather department said. Farmers rely on the monsoon rains, which hit the Kerala coast every year and then sweep across the country, to water their crops and replenish dams and reservoirs. The arrival of the monsoon is always keenly watched in India, but even more so this year as much of the country reels from the drought. / AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

New Delhi: A myriad of meteorological firms are empowering India Inc with superior climatic predictions to turn this once erratic factor into an all-weather ally. Interestingly, all major verticals of the economy like agriculture, power distribution companies, automobile manufacturers, freight forwarders, event managers and airlines depend on weather-updates for managing smooth operations and meeting seasonal demand.

At present, four major private weather forecasters are active in India. These firms provide everything from weather-related information, region specific predictions, trends and even crop insurance traded options.

"Weather-related information and timely information is as important for the agriculture sector as it is for the corporate segment," Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings and Research (Fitch Group), told IANS.

"Companies use weather-related information along with time-series data points to come out with their production tragets, inventory levels and pricing strategy, this is especially true for the two-wheeler segment and other FMCG."

A case in point is monsoon prediction: get this right and the implications are limitless. A healthy season, will indicate an uptrend in rural demand for products like cement, fertilisers, FMCG, farm equipment, two-wheelers, while a consumption slowdown and inflation will accompany a below average rainfall months. Industry insiders opined that the business of weather forecasting was never this interesting or profitable in India as it is right now.

Currently, the field is equally divided with start-ups competing with heavyweights like IBM.

The global IT major IBM-backed -- The Weather Company -- provides personalised, actionable insight to consumers and businesses about accurate weather data along with AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and analytic technologies.

"We connect newscasters, airline pilots, energy traders, insurance executives, state agency employees, retail management and more to the weather intel they need, on any device," Himanshu Goyal, India Business Leader, The Weather Company told IANS.

"Weather-based decision making is becoming critical to many industries and is arguably the most important external swing factor in business performance. Businesses today are seeing the benefits and value of weather insights."

-Rohit Vaid

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