South-west monsoon on Monday inched further bringing showers to some more parts of Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Orissa and parts of West Bengal.

However, a senior weather scientist warned of a slight delay in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand but made it clear that it would have no impact on the kharif crops.

The south-west monsoon has been active over Orissa, Vidarbha, coastal and south interior Karnataka and Kerala, the weather office said.

In Delhi, officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) briefed Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on the monsoon situation across the country.

As of June 11, cumulative seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole this year has been 7 per cent below the Long Period Average (LPA).

Out of 36 meteorological subdivisions, the rainfall has been excess over nine, normal over seven and deficient or scanty over 20 sub-divisions, the weather office said.

“The monsoon is delayed in few States such as MP, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh by five days. The delay is not due to cyclone Phet. It is a natural phenomenon. It will surely advance and the delay will not impact kharif crops,” L.S. Rathore, Head of IMD’s Agromet Division, told reporters here.

The monsoon is tipped to cover southern parts of Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, parts of Orissa and West Bengal, entire Sikkim and parts of Jharkhand and east Bihar during the next three days.

Monsoon rains are considered the lifeline of Indian agriculture and are vital for kharif crops such as paddy, sugarcane, oilseeds and pulses.

Last year, almost half of the country faced severe drought due to failure of monsoon. As a result, India’s foodgrain production declined to 218.19 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year from a record 234.47 million tonne in the previous year.

In April, the IMD had forecast normal monsoon rains for the four-month season beginning June 1.