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India's monsoon rains cover entire country- weather official

NEW DELHI, July 19 (Reuters) - India's annual monsoon, which delivers more than 70% of the country’s rainfall, covered the entire country on Friday afternoon, four days behind schedule, an official from India's weather office said.

Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where about 55% of all arable land is reliant on rainfall and the farm sector employs nearly half of the country's 1.3 billion people.

India may face drought this year if rains do not pick up in the coming weeks, with many regions in the country receiving deficient rainfall.

Overall, India has received 18% below average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1, the India Meteorological Department's website showed. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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