Climate Change

Budget 2020-21: Local level adaptation may be focus vis-à-vis climate change

Funds might be allocated to Panchayati Raj ministry, IMD, other institutions to minimise impact of extreme weather

By Akshit Sangomla
Published: Monday 27 January 2020
The 2018 Kerala floods. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

India’s national budget for the year 2020-21 in relation to climate change may have a focus on adaptation at the local government level.

The main issues arising out of climate change at this level are in the field of agriculture, mainly due to extreme rainfall events, floods, droughts, hail / dust storms, ground frost, cold waves and cyclones.

This may mean an allocation of funds to the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj and institutions like the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Central Research Institute for Dry Land Agriculture (CRIDA) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

CRIDA and ICAR have come up with contingency plans on the district level, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo had told the Lok Sabha on December 13, 2019. The area impacted by heavy rainfall and floods in India was over six million hectares, with crop damage in 4.9 million hectares, Supriyo had said in 2017.

The contingency plans might get an extension to block level plans with the IMD and the ICAR working on providing accurate weather forecasts at the block level. The IMD will provide weather forecasts and agromet advisory services to all the 6,500 blocks across 660 districts of the country by 2020, it had announced in April last year.

The IMD has already launched a pilot project for local forecasts in around 1,000 blocks, with 730 more added recently, according to M Rajeevan, secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. This will be coupled with a new technology for impact-based weather forecasting being developed by the IMD.

This will take into account, the impact of extreme weather events while issuing forecasts for a region, especially rising river levels during extreme rain and flood events.

This is being done to minimise the impact of catastrophes such as the Kerala floods of 2018, where unusually intense rainfall along with improper management of dams had led to the deaths of almost 500 people and a financial loss of Rs 31,000 crores. 

The National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change was established in 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the states and union territories that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The scheme will end on March 31 2020.

A revamp of this fund might also be on the cards for the 2020-21 financial year. Till date, 30 adaptation projects have been approved at a total cost of 847 crore, covering vulnerable sectors such as water, agriculture and animal husbandry, forestry ecosystems and biodiversity. The government of India has released an amount of 437 crore out of the total cost.

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