Monsoon rains, the lifeline of the country's United States dollars 2 trillion economy, are expected to be 97 per cent of a long-term average, KJ Ramesh, director general of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), said.
IMD's forecast of 97% rainfall comes with a model error of (plus-minus) 5%.
Private forecaster Skymet recently said that India may receive normal monsoon in 2018.
"Monsoon 2018 is likely to remain normal at 97 per cent (with an error margin of +/-5 per cent) of the long period average (LPA) for the four-month period from June to September", said IMD director general K J Ramesh.
IMD defines average / normal rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 89 cms for the entire four-month season beginning June.
A normal south-west monsoon bodes well for the Indian economy and is likely to boost rural demand and alleviate farm distress. Less than 90 per cent LPA is termed "deficient" monsoon, and 90-96 per cent of the same is considered "below normal".
The negative fallout of a good monsoon followed by a good harvest is that unless it is supported by strong offtake measures it could lead to a glut in many crops plummeting farm incomes.
The IMD issues its first monsoon forecast in April and updates it in June. Anything between 90-96 per cent of the LPA is considered "below normal".
Last year, the country as a whole received rainfall that was 95 per cent of its long-period average. India had faced deficient rains during monsoon season in 2015 and 2014, making both these years drought years.