Crop sowing accelerates on surplus monsoon rains

MUMBAI: Ample monsoon rainfall in June accelerated planting of main crops such as rice and cotton, government data showed on Friday, though the current dry spell could slow down the pace of sowing in coming weeks.

Weather officials forecast monsoon rains would remain subdued in large parts of the country in the first half of July.

Good rainfall this year is key to boosting a rural economy hit by delayed and lower rains last year, as well as keeping a lid on food inflation and giving India's central bank more scope to cut lending rates.

Though agriculture accounts for about 15 percent of India's $2 trillion economy, three-fifths of its 1.25 billion people depend on it for their livelihood.