Mains Daily Question
Jan. 22, 2021
- "A large part of India is prone to drought in varying degrees." Highlight the factors responsible for droughts in India. Suggest measures to mitigate the impact of droughts.
- Introduce with droughts and India's drought vulnerability
- List the factors causing droughts - natural and anthropogenic
- List the measures to mitigate the impact - like water management, irrigation etc.
- Conclude appropriately
Drought results from long period of dry weather and insufficient precipitation, which causes acute dry conditions. Around 68 % of India is prone to drought in varying degrees. Since agriculture is the major source of livelihood in India, droughts can create serious farm distress impacting the lives of millions.
Factors Responsible For Droughts In India
- Natural factors:
- Erratic monsoons: The South-west monsoon accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of the annual rainfall over major parts of India. Failure of monsoons, for reasons like El Nino etc, is the major reason for droughts in India.
- Skewed distribution of monsoon: This makes some regions, like the leeward side of Western Ghats, chronically prone to droughts.
- Depletion of water resources: Depletion of surface and sub-surface water resources, especially in areas of low yearly rainfall.
- Anthropogenic factors:
- Inappropriate agricultural activities leading to excessive water use cause depletion in water levels.
- Activities such as deforestation and encroachment of wetlands lessen the ability of land to hold water.
- Anthropogeic activities leading to global warming, result in fluctuations in phenomenon like monsoons.
Droughts have severe economic, social and environmental consequences. As a result, there has been a shift in approach to drought management from relief centric approach to holistic and integrated management with emphasis on prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
Droughts Can Be Mitigated By
- Systemic measures: Drought monitoring, advanced warning systems and drought management Plans at various levels.
- Integrated Watershed Management: Focus on conserving as well as rejuvenating the natural sources of water along with practices like rain water harvesting etc. especially in drought-prone areas and deserts
- Irrigation: Irrigation facilities reduce dependency on monsoon, and techniques like drip irrigation improve water use efficiency.
- Agriculture: Proper agricultural practices (right crops, crop rotation etc.) based on agro-climatic conditions
- Capacity Development: Human resource development, training, education (including public awareness campaigns) and capacity building
Climate change will potentially be increasing the frequency of events like droughts. India must put in place medium- and long-term plans at all levels to adapt to, as well as to mitigate the impact of, droughts.