Droughts Current Affairs - 2019
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CCEA approves Special Package for Irrigation Projects in drought prone areas of Vidarbha, Marathwada
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved implementation of Centrally Sponsored-Scheme for completion of 83 minor irrigation projects and 8 major or medium irrigation projects in Maharashtra’s drought prone areas of Vidharbha, Marathawada regions.
The special package aims to create additional potential of 3.77 lakh hectares in these drought prone areas. It will ensure assured source of water to farmers in command area of these projects. This will increase yield of their crops and thereby increase the income of the farmers.
The projects included under special package will be funded under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP) and are planned to be completed by December 2019. Progress of projects will be monitored by State as well as Central Water Commission (CWC).
The overall balance cost of projects is estimated to be Rs. 13,651.61 crore. Central Assistance for implementation of these projects will be Rs. 3,831.41 crore and rest will be provided by State Government which may be arranged through NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).
On completion of these projects, utilization of irrigation potential of about 3.77 lakh ha will transform agriculture scenario of these drought prone region resulting in generation of substantially more employment opportunities through increase in cropping intensity, change in cropping pattern, agro processing and other ancillary activities. It will result employment generation of approximately 341 lakh man-days for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers.
Maharashtra has experienced hydrological and agricultural drought during three years period from 2012 to 2016. The situation was worst in Vidharbha and Marathawada region with high incidence rate of suicides by farmers. Besides, these regions, drought prone areas (DPA) in rest of the state also had experienced distress in recent years. These irrigation projects are ongoing projects, but they were languishing due to fund constraints.
According to recently published global study, India is among countries which are at greatest risk of food insecurity due to weather extremes caused by climate change. The study had examined how climate change could affect vulnerability of different countries mainly 122 developing and least-developed countries (mostly in Asia, Africa and South America) to food insecurity — when people lack access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. It examined projected changes in weather extremes and their implications for freshwater availability and vulnerability to food insecurity.
Climate change caused by 2 degrees Celsius global warming is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of world. Such weather extremes will increase vulnerability to food insecurity. The countries at greatest vulnerability to food insecurity due to climate change are Oman, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
Global warming is expected to lead to wetter conditions on average causing floods and putting food production at risk. But agriculture may also get harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas caused by climate change.
Wetter conditions are expected to have biggest impact in South and East Asia, with most extreme projections suggesting flow of River Ganges could more than double at 2 degrees Celsius global warming. Some areas are projected to see increase in flood event lengths of 4 days or more, particularly India and Bangladesh, for which such increases are projected in all ensemble members to some extent.
The areas worst affected by droughts are expected to be southern Africa and South America – where flows in Amazon River are projected to decline by up to 25%. Some climatic change is already unavoidable, but if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, this vulnerability is projected to remain smaller approximately 76% of developing countries than at 2 degrees Celsius