Annual monsoon rains sweep western, central India

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Annual monsoon rains have progressed to parts of western and central India, easing fears of millions of desperate farmers after two straight years of drought, the weather department said. Farmers rely on the monsoon rains, which hit the Kerala coast every year and then sweep across the country, to water their crops and replenish dams and reservoirs. The arrival of the monsoon is always keenly watched in India, but even more so this year as much of the country reels from the drought. However, dozens of people have been struck by lightning and killed during the rains, disaster management officials said.