Data Focus

M.P. tops in loss of life, crop due to natural calamities in last four years

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on September 01, 2021

A look at States that suffered the most

 

India has paid heavy human and economic cost because of hydro meteorological calamities in the last four years. Over 7,000 people lost their lives, 35 lakh houses were damaged and over 200 lakh hectares of crop area was destroyed from 2018-19 to 2021-22 ( as of August 2021).

Hydro meteorological calamities include floods ( flash floods, river floods, coastal floods, urban floods etc.), droughts ( meteorological, hydrological agricultural), cyclones, avalanches, heat and cold waves etc.

Also read: Rising trend of sea surges: Experts call for restoration of mangroves

The Ministry of Home Affairs data presented in the Rajya Sabha last month show that Madhya Pradesh lost the highest number of its people ( 970) to natural disasters in four years followed by West Bengal (964), Maharashtra ( 875), Kerala (764) and Himachal Pradesh (594).

75% houses damaged in five States

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for rural India aims at providing 2.95 crore houses to the eligible rural population in the country to achieve the objective of “Housing for All”. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban aims to provide housing to all eligible beneficiaries / families by 2022. So far, 112.5 lakh houses have been sanctioned for urban areas.

Even as the government is putting huge investment in construction of houses, over 35 lakh houses including huts were damaged due to natural disasters in four years. Kerala tops the list of States which reported the highest number of damaged houses during natural disasters. Nearly 7 lakh houses were damaged in Kerala during the last four years followed by West Bengal (6,72,565), Tamil Nadu ( 5,80,446) Maharashtra ( 4,06,749) and Assam ( 2,76,319). Whopping 75 per cent of the total houses damaged during the last four years are from these top five States.

Crop damage and agrarian distress

When it comes to crop damage Madhya Pradesh reported 67.15 lakh hectare damage in four years followed by Karnataka (29.34 lakh ha), Rajasthan (23.92 lakh ha), Maharashtra (15.45 lakh ha) and Uttar Pradesh (12. 35 lakh ha).

The Government of India has introduced yield based Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and weather based Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) from Kharif 2016 to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of natural calamities, adverse weather incidence and to stabilize income of farmers. Comprehensive risk insurance is provided under the scheme for pre-harvesting to post-harvest losses. However, farmers and insurance companies are at loggerheads over crop loss/ damage evaluation and compensation following frequent natural calamities.

Unseasonal rains and flooding has added to the agrarian distress across the States for the last two years as farmers have to go for re-sowing once the crop is completely damaged.

Economic losses and climate change

On an average during the decade from 2005 -14, India suffered economic losses of approximately ₹60,000 crore per annum due to different kinds of natural disasters of which the maximum damage was caused by floods according to the government. Experts predict that economic losses would multiply.

Under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)/State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) including State share of ₹12,825 crore were allocated to the States to manage calamities in 2018-19, while ₹13,465 were allocated in 2019-20 and ₹28,983 in 2020-21.

The Ministry of Environment told Lok Sabha in March this year that there is no established study for India providing a quantified contribution of climate change triggering either natural disasters or fatalities.

“While many studies monitor disasters such as drought, floods and breaking of glaciers, the science of attribution of these changes particularly to climate change is far more complex and currently an evolving subject. Such changes as observed may also arise from a number of causes, including the inherent variability in the climate systems that are common in the biosphere and the geosphere” the Ministry stated. Most studies so far have relied on mathematical modelling of climate change impacts but these are yet to be empirically verified, the Ministry added.

 

Published on September 01, 2021

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