Drought is a slow-onset, complex phenomenon of ecological challenge that affects people directly. The five parameters used to assess drought in India are related to the availability of:
- Drinking water,
- Irrigation water,
- Foodgrains, and
- the requirement of energy sector
The manual brought out in 2015 gives four important measures that a State (in co-operation with Union) government should take at the time of a drought:
- MGNREGA to provide immediate employment to drought-affected people, however the scheme suffers from huge pay-delays in drought affected regions of MP and Telangana, making people unwilling to work. Where they are willing, they suffer from problems of access to the scheme.
- PDS should be strengthened to provide food and fodder as a measure to sustain the rural economy, but the PDS is also a malfunctioning system with no guarantee of food security in states like UP.
- Act to recharge the groundwater table by building check dams, providing pipeline water and other irrigation facilities, but these require long term planning which only a few states have undertaken. The scarcity of drinking water has also gone up, causing community/caste conflicts.
- Either waive off or defer farmer loans and arrange for crop loss compensation-however, this strategy only addresses the symptoms and not the root cause of droughts
The Supreme court has also directed the Center and the state to release funds immediately on the onset of a drought.
Two consecutive years of droughts have resulted in mass migration, starvation deaths, malnutrition and livelihood crisis, need of the hour is to undertake long-term prevention and precaution building approaches that do not appear as mere firefighting at the eleventh hour of crisis.
Indian ocean has been warming at an alarming rate due to following reasons:-
- Land Locked Ocean in the North
- The Indian ocean is landlocked in the north unlike other oceans like Atlantic or Pacific. Thus, it is not able to flush out the accumulated heat to the poles. So, the heat pile persists for a longer period.
- Human induced activities:
- These activities increase GreenHouse Gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere thus heating it; and a large share of this heat is absorbed by the oceans.
- El nino magnitude gone up.
- when El nino (prolonged warming of Pacific ocean) emerges in Pacific Ocean, the atmospheric circulation between Pacific and Indian ocean leads to accumulation of heat in Indian ocean. As El nino is on rise, the warming of Indian ocean is also faster.
Although, the higher temperature of the Indian ocean should translate into more rainfall over the adjoining coastal areas of south Asia, this is not happening due to the weakened monsoon winds blowing over the ocean. Thus ensuring that it rains over the ocean itself.
The monsoon winds have weakened due to the warming of the ocean itself, as in the summer the land is warmer than the ocean so the winds travel from sea to land, however now that the ocean is also significantly warmer, the winds have lost the urgency to travel landwards.