Wily weather

Can the Indian economy cope with unusual weather phenomena?

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

ACTUALLY it cannot. It does very badly. An economy which is largely dependent upon agriculture and where production in the rural sector grabs a sizeable chunk of the GDP is itself dependent to a great extent upon good weather. Good weather in the Indian context means timely rains.

There is a school of thought which feels that we could encounter more untimely rains and more unusual weather phenomena due to global warming It could lead to more El Nino-type phenomenon. While there is data to indicate that 1998 was the hottest year in the last six centuries, there is unfortunately no data to indicate that unusual weather patterns are increasing with temperature changes. Possibly, there has been no research to that effect.

While it would be correct to say that the rising prices of onions have nothing to do with global warming, a country like India has to watch out on other fronts. Even though irregular rainfall patterns have haunted Indian agriculture through the ages, the country has to be better prepared to manage such weather events. The nations farmers never had to feed such a large population before. Crop failures therefore win have a devastating effect on more and more people in the future.

The only answer to the problem is to have a robust rural environment Where local people are given the right to manage water and a stake in the natural resources. Only then will the people and the environment both thrive and only then will the economy be able to withstand the vagaries of the monsoon. That India can only attain prosperity if her villages are prosperous is more than just a cliche.

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