DISASTER MANAGEMENT/ GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY
Topic: General Studies 2 and 3
- Disaster and disaster management.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Need for climate-resilient infrastructure
Context: The recent Assam floods has caused large scale damage which makes policy makers rethink about infrastructural development
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the deluge has destroyed 2,323 villages, 110,000 hectares of crop area, disrupted transport and communication networks, healthcare systems, affecting over 2.49 million people
Are floods in Assam State recurring in nature?
- Yes, it has now become an annual phenomenon, every year intense rainfall during the monsoon season cause the Brahmaputra River to overflow causing massive devastation to downstream states.
If it’s a recurring event, what steps are taken by government to reduce its impact?
- Government has invested heavily in forecast technologies, designed & implemented large-scale disaster evacuation strategies and come up SOPS for effective relief operations
- All these efforts by government in collaboration with Civil Society have been able to save lives, but not enough to face future challenges.
- The report ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’ has warned that a projected rise in average temperature is likely to exacerbate such disasters with greater intensity and frequency, but India is unprepared for it
- The vulnerability of India’s critical infrastructure to climate extremes would not only undermine development gains but also have severe implications for its ecosystems, economic productivity, energy and food security, and public health.
Did You Know?
- Cyclone Amphan caused an estimated infrastructure damage of $13 billion in West Bengal, 1.6 times the overall economic loss caused by super cyclone Fani in 2019.
- Kerala’s total recovery need due to the damage caused by 2018 floods was more than Rs 310 billion.
- Mumbai suffered a loss of Rs 1.8 billion due to monsoon floods between 2005 and 2015.
- In the last 20 years, India has incurred a loss of $80 billion to climate disasters.
Way Ahead – Comprehensive policy framework for climate- resilient infrastructure
- India’s development policies do not lay any explicit focus on effective integration of climate resilience concerns in infrastructure building.
- A comprehensive policy framework for climate resilient infrastructure could significantly reduce the socio-economic vulnerabilities by anticipating, preparing for, and adapting to changing climate conditions.
- An aggressive strategy to integrate climate resilience in all aspects of infrastructure development from planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance.
- India’s critical infrastructure must be built to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from the disruptions they cause.
- The national government’s flagship schemes for infrastructure development such as the AMRUT, the Smart Cities Mission, or Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna (PMAY) should put greater emphasis on climate resilient standards adoption.
- National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) mandates local governments to include climate adaptation and mitigation strategies into their development projects. This has to implemented in spirit at ground level
- Adherence to the provisions of The Model Building Bye-laws 2016 that provides for risk classification of buildings and climate-resilient construction
- Majority of states do not maintain an up-to-date record of critical infrastructure such as housing, water systems, transport network, etc. that could inform proper land use planning. States should update such data with urgency
- There is a need to strengthen the technical capacity for climate modelling and projection.
- India should collectively mobilise its existing institutional climate capabilities for predicting disasters. This would include ISRO, NRSA and IMD to create comprehensive map that could guide the design, plan and delivery on resilient infrastructure building.
Importance of climate resilient infrastructure
- Investing in climate resilient infrastructure at an unprecedented scale would yield the triple dividend of
- Saving lives and livelihoods,
- Minimising economic loss and
- Ensuring efficient allocation of resources for development.
As extreme events are becoming the ‘new normal’ in an increasingly climate-constrained world, India’s critical infrastructure must be built to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from the disruptions they cause
Connecting the dots:
- Sustainable Developmental Goals