MUMBAI (Reuters) - The June-September monsoon rains started withdrawing from India's northwest region on Wednesday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The monsoon usually starts withdrawing in the first week of September, but this year it has been delayed by three weeks.
"The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from some parts of Punjab, Haryana, most parts of West Rajasthan, some parts of Kutch and north Arabian Sea," IMD said.
The monsoon, which delivers 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, is critical for 263 million farmers and their rice, sugarcane, corn, cotton and soybean crops because nearly half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.
The country has so far received 5 percent lower rainfall than normal in the current monsoon season.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Edmund Blair)