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Eight Indian States Highly Vulnerable to Climate Change, Says Govt. Study

Notably, all the eight Indian states are in the eastern part of the country and the report pointed out that these states need prioritisation of adaptive interventions.
climate change.

A recent study which assessed the impact climate change would have on Indian states has said that eight – Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chattisgrah, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal – were highly vulnerable to it.

The study was initiated by the DST (Department of Science and Technology) in partnership with the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and was conducted by IISC (Indian Institute of Sciences) Bengaluru, IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Guwahati and IIT Mandi. It mapped India in terms of vulnerability to climate change.

The study categorised districts in different states into ‘highly vulnerable’, ‘lower middle vulnerable’ and ‘low vulnerable’. The report, titled 'Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework', was made available by the DST on April 17.

Notably, all the eight Indian states are in the eastern part of the country and the report pointed out that these states need prioritisation of adaptive interventions.

Again, among these highly vulnerable states, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand are home to 60% of the districts that fall in the category of ‘highly vulnerable districts’.

In Assam, which has a forest cover of 42% and low road density, the study found a lack of forest area per 100 rural population. The lack of a forest cover was deemed to be major drivers of vulnerability in Assam.

In the case of Bihar, the report pointed out that poor health infrastructure was the main driver in vulnerability in as much as 36 districts. This again was followed by a high percentage of marginal and small operational holders in 24 districts.

The lack of rural employment – implementation of schemes like MGNREGA also appeared to be a key driver of vulnerability in 14 districts in Bihar. The failure in implementing rural employment schemes resulted in a lack of alternative livelihood opportunities. Again, the lack in women’s participation in the workforce contributed to a vulnerability in 11 districts in Bihar.

Different key drivers affected the vulnerability in Jharkhand, the report said. According to it, the lack of crop insurance and rain-fed agriculture were the key drivers in Jharkhand.

The lower-middle vulnerable states were Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Telengana and Punjab.

“We have seen how extreme events are on rise both in terms of their number and severity. Mapping the parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help initiating climate actions at the ground level,” DST Secretary Prof. Ashutosh Sharma was quoted saying about the report.

“The report should be made easily accessible to all stakeholders so that it can benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects,” he urged.

The report found that Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra were states that belonged to the low vulnerability category. Apparently, these states are less vulnerable to climate change.

A total of 94 representatives from 24 states and two union territories participated in the nationwide exercise.

“The assessments can further be used for India's reporting on the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. And finally, these assessments will support India''s National Action Plan on Climate Change,” Corinne Demenge, Head of the Swiss Cooperation office at the Embassy of Switzerland in India, reportedly said.

An assessment of vulnerability to climate change is beneficial in policy making and can help in designing projects that are better adapted to climate change.

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