Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Agriculture
Mains level: Land reforms in India. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
• The pervasiveness of climatic aberrations and the associated socio-economic vulnerability are now widely recognised and experienced across the globe.
• The Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on “Global Warming at 1.5°C” distinctly propagates.
• The need to strengthen and enhance existing coping capacity and to remain committed to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Vital highlights from this report
• The report establishes that the world has become 1°C warmer because of human activities, causing greater frequency of extremes and obstruction to the normal functioning of ecosystems.
• Climate-induced risks are projected to be higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C (a catastrophic situation).
• The magnitude of such projections depends on in-situ attributes and the level of developments.
• A change in global warming, indigenous populations and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods are very vulnerable to the climate impacts.
Condition in India
• India, with its diverse agro-climatic settings, is one of the most vulnerable countries.
• Its agriculture ecosystem, distinguished by high monsoon dependence, and with
85% small and marginal landholdings, is highly sensitive to weather abnormalities.
• There has been less than normal rainfall during the last four years, with 2014 and 2015 declared as drought years.
• Even the recent monsoon season (June-September) ended with a rainfall deficit of 9%, which was just short of drought conditions.
• Research is also confirming an escalation in heat waves, in turn affecting crops, aquatic systems and livestock.
• The Economic Survey 2017-18 has estimated farm income losses between 15% and
18% on average, which could rise to 20%-25% for unirrigated areas without any policy interventions.
• These projections underline the need for strategic change in dealing with climate change in agriculture.
• There is a need to foster the process of climate adaptation in agriculture, which involves reshaping responses across both the micro- and macro-level decision-making culture.
• At the micro-level, traditional wisdom, religious epics and various age-old notions about weather variations still guide farmers’ responses, which could be less effective.
• Corroborating these with climate assessments and effective extension and promoting climate resilient technologies will enhance their pragmatism.
• Climate exposure can be reduced through agronomic management practices such as inter and multiple cropping and crop-rotation; shift to non-farm activities; insurance covers; up-scaling techniques such as solar pumps, drip irrigation and sprinklers.
• Several studies indicate increasing perceptions of the magnitude of climate change and the need for farmers to adapt, but the process remains slow.
• For instance, the NSS 70th round indicates that a very small segment of agricultural households utilised crop insurance due to a lack of sufficient awareness and knowledge.
• Hence there is an urgent need to educate farmers, reorient Krishi Vigyan Kendras and other grass-root organisations with specific and more funds about climate change and risk-coping measures.
• The SAPCC is an important platform for adaptation planning but it needs to evolve further in terms of climate-oriented regional analysis to capture micro-level sensitivity and constraints.
• Moreover, convergence of climate actions with ongoing efforts and several Central schemes with similar mandates is a must.
• Greater expertise and consultations are required for a systematic prioritisation of actions and fiscal prudence for building climate resilient agriculture.
• Climate adaptation actions in agriculture are closely intertwined with rural developmental interventions, calling for a holistic new paradigm.
• At the macro-level, climate adaptations are to be mainstreamed in the current developmental framework (which is still at a nascent stage, as acknowledged in the Economic Survey 2017-18).
• The government document likely consequences of climate change, they lack systematic adaptation planning and resource conservation practices.
• Mainstreaming adaptation into the policy apparatus has the potential to improve the resilience of several development outcomes.
• The approach demands coherence across multiple policy scales as required for developing possible synergy between micro-macro levels and addressing several cross-cutting issues.
• Moreover, this enables identification of several barriers that prevent up-scaling efforts and adaptation by farmers.