Sunday, May 15, 2011

Climate Change and Agriculture

India is a large developing country with nearly 700 million rural population directly depended on climate sensitive sectors (agriculture, forests and fisheries) and natural resources (such as water, biodiversity, mangroves, coastal zones, grasslands) for their subsistence and livelihoods. Further, the adaptive capacity of dry land farmers, forest dwellers, fisher folk and nomadic shepherds is very low. Climate change is likely to impact all the natural ecosystems as well as socio-economic systems as per the National Communications Report of India to the UNFCCC. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 2007report, predicts that global temperatures will rise by 2-4.50 C by the end of this century, with a 2.7-4.30C increase over India by the 2080s. The panel also predicted an increase in rainfall over the Indian sub-continent by 6-8 per cent and that the sea level would rise by 88 centimeters by 2100.

India is an agriculture dependent nation and agriculture is still the back bone of Indian economy. In India agriculture is the tradition which is interwoven in our economic and cultural life. Agriculture is still the base of livelihood of around two-third population of our country. There is geographical and climate diversity in India that’s why it has been divided in 15 agriculture climate zones the agriculture e is dependent on unpredictable monsoon. The agriculture and former community has been marginalized due to the government policy on one hand and the climate change has worsened the already fragile situation on the other. Today the whole world is concerned about the prevailing situation created by climate change and facing it in different level. All are afraid of the situation of denudation of low land to and melting of glaciers of the arctic. Developing countries are more fearful. According to Dr R.K. Pachauri, there is possibility that food production of many countries including India would be badly affected by the climate change, particularly wheat, paddy and other crops would be directly affected and these are the primary food of common Indian people. We can only estimate how the climate change would impact upon the livelihood of majority of people.

According to the recently issued status report of India and disaster management, around 85 percent part of India is under disaster prone zone, 40 million hectare of land is under drought situation, 4 percent is under violent storm and 68 percent of land is under drought. Not only that the graph of natural calamity have up during the last 100 years which has affected human and physical resources. According to the report of World Bank there was loss of 2.25 percent GDP between period from 1996 to 2000 and the government has to bear the loss of 12.5 percent.

We have no clear cut estimate of the impact of climate change on Indian agriculture but looking at the third report of IPCC it can be said that few crops, which grow in tropical region; have reached at the high level and after that these crops cannot bear (face) the hot situation so after this level the production of crops would be badly affected.

For example in 2006 production of wheat was reported to be reduced of 10-15% due to increase in 4.6 centigrade temperature. Production of wheat crop is very important for food security point of view. In such situation production of food would be badly affected if the temperature of the atmosphere increases and it would also affect the quality of the food. Paddy crop can bear the heat more than wheat so there is a possibility that our farmers expand the area of paddy cultivation which is not appropriate from the food production point view.

Uttar Pradesh: An Example

Uttar Pradesh is home to 166.2 million people living in high density- 689 person per sq km. The population is spread over 70 districts, with 300 tehsils and 813 blocks across 4 geographic regions-western, eastern, central and Bundelkhan. It is the third poorest state in India with a per capita annual income of US S 200. Some 80 percent of the people in UP live in rural areas and 66 percent depend on agriculture for their livelihood, agriculture for their livelihood agriculture accounted for 38 percent of the GSDP in 2001-02. Six percent of the population is involved in household industries and 28 percent in other services.

The social composition of its people is as diverse as its regions. As per the 2001 census, Hindus constitute 80.6 percent, Muslims 18.5 percent, SCs 21.5 percent and STs 0.7 percent of the population, while other religious minorities constitute, while other religious minorities constitute 0.9 percent.

Large disparities exist amongst the social groups despite the affirmative action from the government to bridge the gaps of exclusion through affirmative action policies for SCs/STs, besides other policy interventions for addressing alleviation of poverty and deprivation of marginalized social groups.

According to the UP Human Development Report (UPHDR) 2007 UP ranked 15th in terms of per capita income out of the 18 major Indian states considered for the study. Its poverty ranking amongst the states was 11:32:8 percent of the population was below the poverty line in 2004-5. Every 6th malnourished child in the country lives in UP. The IMR is 75 per 1000 much higher than the National average of 58 per 1000(2000-2005). Almost 40 percent of its population remains uneducated, seriously affecting their ability to make any demands on the state for a better quality of life, access to development initiatives or healthcare or even a livelihood.

Land Holdings, Land Distribution and Agricultural Production

Of the state’s total geographical area of 24.2 million hectares (mha), 16.8 mha (69.42 percent) is under cultivation. Agriculture contributes about 40 percent to the SGDP as against 25 percent at the national level. According to the 2001 census, 62.12 percent of the state’s total workers are engaged in agriculture. UP contributes, on an average, 21 percent to the national production of food grains. With the average food grain production of about 42.7 million tones and per capita production of 234 kg per year, third highest among major states, UP is considered to be a food grain surplus state.

UP’s agriculture is characterized by very small sized land holding; around 90 percent of the farmers in the state are small and marginal farmers. Some 73.8 percent of the total operational holdings in the state are marginal (below 1.0 ha.) and another 15.5 percent holding are small (between 1 and 2 ha.). Due to the preponderance of the small holdings, UP agriculture is still largely subsistence oriented.

Landholding in UP is becoming more fragmented over the time. Thus, between 1985-86 and 1995-96, while the total size of the holding increased from 18.98 million to 21.53 million ha, the proportion of the area under medium and large holding declined from 8.3 percent to 7.4 percent and from 3.22 percent to 2.5 percent respectively, and the share of the area under marginal holdings increased from 72.6 percent to 75.4 percent, the estimated average holding of marginal farmers and small farmers are 0.35 ha and 1.38 ha respectively. The average size of land holding in UP cutting across all categories of farmers 0.85 ha.

Education and Literacy

There is a great deal of variation in education development, reflected in divergent literacy rates across the state, with literacy rates of 55.22 percent, 58.44 percent, 59.04 percent and 60.32 percent in eastern, western, central and Bundelkhand regions as against the state average of 57.36 percent. Some districts exhibit very low male and female literacy rates in comparison to the state average of 70.2 percent for men and 42.9 percent for women.

About 7.85 lakh children from marginalized and deprived social groups still continue to be outside the mainstream of elementary education. More than 52 percent children are involved in domestic labour while 12 percent (mainly girls) are involved in sibling care, 3.75 percent children do not have access to schools and 20 percent are out of school due to various other reasons. Among the never enrolled children, other Backward Classes (OBC) is the largest groups with 2.38 lakh (44 percent children of which girls constitute the majority). The OBCs comprise the largest groups in the state population too. Even among enrolled children the dropouts are higher among the OBCs at 36 percent. The never enrolled children in the different survey: OBCs 44 percent, SCs -24.3 percent, minority -23 percent and general – 6.55 percent.


Although UP has a fairly large public sector health infrastructure which had an outlay of 4.6 percent till the 10th plan, it received a boost to 7.3 percent outlay for the 11th plan. However, only 9 percent people actually make use of this facility for treatment of ordinary ailments. The Primary Health Centers (PHCs) at the village level in most cases function minimally. Doctors absent themselves regularly as most of them live in urban areas, far from the centers. The ANMs (auxiliary nurse and midwife) are not available on a daily basis as they have their own issues regarding commuting to work areas.

Patients with serious diseases or child birth complications have no choice but to resort to District Civil Hospital. Here again, lack of ready transportation and financial poverty impair recovery. In UP, only half of all pregnant women receive antenatal care services and only 18 percent women have institutional deliveries. More than 80 percent women in the rural areas are dependent on local traditional birth attendants (dais) for deliveries.

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for rural women in UP remains at 3.8, much higher than the national average of 2.8. It could be assumed that women in rural areas have more children as immunization is low, diseases cannot be contained and hygiene is of low priority, and thus more children die at infancy, resulting in more pregnancies to replace the loss. The proportion of public resources the state commits to health services is one of the lowest in the country. UP had a low increase in per capita expenditure on health after 1998 even though the decadal population increase has been 16.6, UP from 15.2 from 1991-2001. Per capita expenditure for Family Welfare in 2001-02 rose to only Rs 18.5 from Rs 15.3 in 1995-96.

Japanese encephalitis has emerged as a serious problem in rural areas of eastern UP. The scourge of the disease is most severe in Gorakhpur District. The disease is now gradually spreading to other parts of the state. This was recently evident by the death of more than four dozen children infected with the disease in Sarahanpur District of western UP. According to State Government sources, Japanese encephalitis has claimed more than 2700 lives since 2001 in UP. Medical surveys in the state reveal that of the total diseased persons, children represent 80 percent. Thus, compared to adults, children are more susceptible to the disease. Children surviving the disease often develop complex problem relating to the brain. Water-logging and pig farming are the two most important predisposing factors favoring the development and spread of the disease.

Impact of climate change in UP

Increasingly, the impact of climate change and global warming is being felt in the state, as in other parts of the country. On the whole, there has been a greater frequency of droughts and floods, one of the hallmarks of climate change. By the first half of the four-month monsoon season in 2007, according to the World Meteorological Organization, the region experienced double the number of monsoon depressions, causing heavy rainfall and flooding across South Asia. Nearly a third of India’s meteorological districts had received higher than average rainfall by the first week of August 2007, according to GOI’s Home Ministry figures More than 2 mha of croplands has been affected, 130000 homes destroyed and 1428 people killed.

U.P. has been divided in 9 Agro climatic zones. Around 80% of the population of the state is engaged in agriculture activities; out of 91% population is under the category of small farmers who are solely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Area of agriculture has worsened. There is prevailing situation of drought and flood due to its physical formation and natural calamities of last 10 years are indicating any big crisis. Uncertainty in monsoon, changing pattern of flood, increasing the duration of drought and flood, increase in water crisis, increase in violent storm, etc. can be seen in the region.

Thus, in eastern UP, chronically flood prone, the very nature of the flooding has changed, with a greater intensity of flash floods. Embankment along the various rivers, unable to withstand the heavy flooding, often breaks, washing away croplands and mud homes. There has been change in flooding patterns too. The flood here are frequently flash and accidental (that is, sudden and unexpected), smaller rivers are also water retention (and hence water logging) have increased. Crop damage is on an increasing trend. Cropping patterns are changing and pulses (once a major crop in the area and a major source of protein) are not grown due to longer periods of water logging, which disrupts the whole crop cycle and production, even in the rabi season, is severely affected. Many become victims of water borne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dengue and Japanese encephalitis as the flood waters stagnate, the natural lines of drainage being disrupted due to embankments, roads and other encroachments. As Action Aid’s Hunger Monitoring Project found in 2007, the last four to five years have seen an accentuation of adverse weather conditions with farmers being affected by prolonged drought, floods and hailstorms and decrease in annual rainfall.

In the Bundelkhand area, with its high levels of poverty, many small and marginal farmers are indebted, both to moneylenders and government banks. As the weather gets hotter, the chances of paying back loans become difficult, leading to stress and, in some extreme cases, suicides. The growing water scarcity poses further problems of survival to people and animals alike. In recent years, the level of the water table has gone down significantly and there are reports from the region of cattle dying due to water shortage. While climate change is affecting everybody, regardless of caste, ethnicity, sex, race or level of income, women in the poorer households suffer the most. Their unequal position in society means that women have less access to money, land, and food protection from violence, education and healthcare. They are more dependent on natural resources for subsistence. Hence, they are more exposed to climate shocks and have fewer resources to protect their own lives, assets and livelihoods while looking after their families. Flood, drought etc. due to climate change can be evaluated from the facts mentioned blow:

Flood and Water logging

The impact of climate change is reflected in the aggravating flood situation; particularly the area of eastern Uttar Pradesh is badly affected where many small and big rivers exist. Most of the rivers are flown from Nepal which is affected by the aggravating flood situation. Gradually the change in frequency, nature and impact of flood is seen in the regions which are as follow:

· There is a change in frequency, timing and quantity of rainfall.

· Days of monsoon have been decreased.

· Heavy flood situation and dams are collapsed due heavy flow of water which increases the chances of flood.

· The problem of water logging is aggravation even from the small rivers because silt is formed on the river bed. As a result there is no depth in river and even low rainfall creates the situation of flood.

There is very less gap between two rivers and the aggravating situation of flood has increased the change of water logging. There is very low slop (20 cm per km) in the region which delays the flow of water from the region. There are many crops which are badly affected as a result of this and many of the crops have been depleted from the region. Cases of water born diseases are increasing. Some of the areas of eastern U.P. and Bihar are badly affected by Japanese encephalitis which aggravate primarily during monsoon and the reason of its spread is water logging.


One region of the state is facing situation of flood and water logging and the other southern part is facing situation of drought. In some of the region the situation of drought has become a permanent feature. The reasons of this situation are:

· Low and untimely rainfall.

· Increase of process of vaporization due to increase in the temperature.

· Decrease of moisture in the soil due to drought.

· Decrease in carrying capacity of water in soil.

Change in temperature and flowing of hot wind

· Rabi crops have been affected due to rise in temperature during winter.

· Untimely increase in the temperature destroys the growing flower of crops which resulted in decrease in the agriculture production.

· Before time flow of wind from west reduces the size and number of food grain which resulted in low production.

· The rise in temperature is also increasing the cases of many new diseases, particularly skin disease.

Water crisis

If we assess the table of ground water then we find that ground water table is going down. The main reason is that farmers are not getting rain water in time of their need because of heavy rainfall in short span of time and farmers are dependent on ground water for irrigation their agriculture land. Increase in temperature is also increasing the demand of irrigation.

Women in UP

In 2000,UP’s Department of women and child development, with the help of the Mahila Samakhya and in consultation with multiple stakeholder government, NGO’s, planners, academicians, activists and many other committed people drafted a policy for Women. The draft Women’s Policy has been vetted, revised and is finally ready, but has to be publicly announced by UP government, a reflection of the priorities and commitment of the state administration.

Women in UP face a considerable gender gap in human capital, due to low levels of education, which is reflected in the literacy levels eastern UP is a case in point. Their contribution, though immense in reproductive and unpaid work, is undervalued. Due to gender biases and this is accompanied by lack of educational opportunities for women as well as lack of access to health care. Consequently, population density is high in certain regions due to large family size as reflected in a high TFR.

Gender wage gaps are prevalent in the rural sector with women’s low bargaining power due to lack of other work opportunities. The differential wage rate continues to be prevalent in the unorganized sector. Though women’s participation in the labour market formal and informal has increased, they are burdened with domestic responsibilities, suffer from job segregation choices for work/jobs due to economic constraints. Work and job insecurity is high due to low level jobs because of lack of education. Women experience poor working conditions and other work place-related discriminations and harassment. Labour market discrimination against women, especially in managerial positions, is evident across sectors and levels. Women’s presence in the work arena is impacted equally by economic development and caste dimensions. The work wages for different types of work for agricultural operations varies for males and females. This is evident in the following table:

Differential wages in agriculture work


Amount in Rs. (Female)

Amount in Rs. (Male)













Source: Government of UP, 11th Plan Document, 2007-08

When mechanization replaces manual labour, it is the women who get displaced, leaving them hardly any opportunity to find them hardly any opportunity to find alternate jobs. Men often migrate to other areas in search of work, a possibility that is closed to women due to social and cultural factors, as well as the necessities of reproductive work. Paradoxically, more than 50 percent of the total work force comprises women but only 13 percent are seen as workers since much of the work (87 percent) is not economically valued as it entails reproductive work. However, in the urban areas, the proportion of women workers in secondary and tertiary sectors is roughly the same as men. Work in the household industry and informal sector entails long working hours, hardly any social interaction and low monetary compensation. So, it is not surprising that women with low bargaining power are seen here in large numbers. The organized sector employed only 9 percent women as against 91 percent males (1998-99). Women were most visible in the casual labour sector.

Percentage of gender distribution in the labour market










Household Industry



Other work



Source: Government of UP, 11th Plan Document, 2007-08

Micro-finance initiative for economic empowerment of poor women, for making accessible funds for emergencies, consumption, productive enterprises and personal saving, are yet to become a visible force in UP. This strategy for poverty alleviation and market action has largely been taken up NGOs.

Government initiatives to set up self help groups (SHGs) through Swarn Jayanti Gramin Swarojgar Youjana (SJGSY) have not taken off because of lack of concerted efforts to work with women around their economic needs, their inherent skills and capacities, and connect them with existing resources and markets. UP has been way behind in this movement.

Rural women continue to be denied rights to so they are unable to access finances and agricultural inputs (technical and non technical) to raise productivity of small holdings (typical of poor SC/OBC families), particularly where men migrate or when they are engaged in share cropping. Consequently, productivity is affected, providing low yields through low inputs and inefficient practices, which ultimately makes small scale marginal farming unviable and cost intensive. As a result, women farmers, who from the bulk of the small and marginal sector in agriculture, continue to face challenges of breaking even and earning substantive profits from farming. Even agriculture extension and low cost/no cost technology and inputs are not available to them through the government extension network.

What is also becoming increasingly visible is the gap in rural-urban incomes. Agricultural wages have not increased at the pace of other wages or salaries. If the majority of people continue to be located in the agricultural/ rural sector, inequalities are likely to rise further between rural urban income and expenditures. Here too, women are more adversely affected than men because of low wages, poor work opportunities and low bargaining power. They also face vulnerability due to climatic vagaries such as floods/drought that impact work availability in rural areas.

Poor SC/ST and OBC women face violence and sexual harassment at work in all sectors. Female work force participation rates (FWPR) for them are higher than for other castes, also, The gap between males and females is much lower than in other castes, in both urban and rural areas. UP also has a lower WPR for SCs/STs than the national average. In the organized sector, only 9 percent participate as workers compared to the national average of 16 percent with the highest rates being in Kanpur, Lucknow and Ghazibad. The highest proportion of regular salaried workers and the lowest proportion of casual work are seen among the upper castes. The SC/ST and OBC have a low percentage of regular and salaried jobs 7.9 percent SCs and STs constitute the bulk of casual labourers. Muslim women’s labour participation is also the same, at 20.7 percent, though salaried work is low, but higher than SCs.

Impact of climate change on Women

Impact of climate change is more on women particularly on poor women because they are more dependent on natural resource for their livelihood and climate change impact more on these resources. Agriculture is affected by the climate change and as a result male counter of the family have to migrate in search of their livelihood. It is the women who alone have to bear the double burden at home. Their responsibilities have been increased, Wealthy related problems have increased with the increase of water born and temperature related diseases.

Climate change affected their livelihood and as a result their coping capacities to deal with the day to problems of life have been reduced. Women farmers have to work as a labourer and to get credit from landlord on high interest rate and many times they have to sleep empty stomach. During the flood situation personally and publically stored grain, seeds and other food item is destroyed and rates of these entire thing go up due to its scarcity in the market. Women are mainly affected with all that the situation worsens for the women working as wage labourer.

It can be said that impact of climate change is more on the women and in future their vulnerability will only increase to deal with the changing climate. So it is the challenge for the development professionals to increase the capacity of women to deal with the deteriorating climate condition.

Give the prevailing conditions of climate change it can be said that we need to conduct a study on short and long term impact of climate change. There is no scarcity of agriculture scientist but the problems are that agriculture scientists are not accepting climate change. That’s why no research is being conducted in this field. Whereas we need to do two things in this direction. First, how the climates change is affecting the agriculture cycle. Second, is it possible to grow some alternative crops to deal with the alternative crops to deal with the situation? At the same time we need to develop the crop variety which could bear the risk of climate change. For example, we need to develop such varieties of crop which could bear hotter situation and heavy and low rainfall.

It is true that climate change is affecting agriculture but our whole human civilization so we cannot limit its impact. No country can escape from its impact. So it is necessary that we discuss very seriously at the ground level.

Case Study

Kamlawati Devi is a small women farmer her village, Vanbhagalpur is situated at block Compiergang in Gorakhpur District. The total population of the village is around 1100. The agriculture land is plain but land is some parts of the area are uneven. Around 80 percent of the farmers in the area are small or marginalized farmers who have less than one acre of land. Paddy, wheat and oilseed are the main crops of area but vegetables are also produced in the field. The livelihood of around 80-85 present of people are dependent on agriculture. Kamlawati primarily grow vegetables, paddy, wheat and corn and groundnut. But do not understand the balance between nature-summer-winter and monsoon.

People of the region have neglected the agriculture activities due to the impact of climate change and those engaged in daily basis work or working in the field are not able to survive in the prevailing condition and so they are migrating from the region in search of job. The change in climate has also affected our health. People of villages are suffering from unknown disease.

In these circumstances now we have changed our agricultural practices in the face of climate change, today we cultivate mixed agriculture due to drought situation. We sow together corn, Groundnut, Arhar, Nanua and other vegetable because if due to heavy rainfall the crops of Arhar and groundnut are destroyed even than we have other option of producing corn and nanua crops and in case of drought situation we produce all crops. Similarly we have increased the area producing vegetable whereas earlier we used to produce crops in the 90 percent of our agriculture land and only 10 percent of the land was used for vegetables. Today around 80 percent of people of the village have started sowing vegetables.

Now whatever the scheme have been implemented by the government needs to be changed and updated as per the climate change.

Local Policy and Institutional Context of Disaster Management

The natural disasters that is significant for the state floods, drought, fires and earthquakes. Loss of life and property from these disasters, especially the former three, amount to hundreds of crores of rupees, annually. The recurring floods and drought are manifestations of increased vulnerability and the inadequacy of the sporadic mitigation measures attempted.

Floods are the most commonly occurring disaster in UP, affecting approximately 2.7 mha of the area and causing losses up to Rs 432 crore. Out of the 240 mha of the total area of UP, approximately 7.3 mha is flood prone. As per the Irrigation Department’s estimate, only 5.87 mha of this area can be protected and the protection provided so far is merely for 1.6 mha. The areas worst affected by floods are eastern UP as well as those situated in the terai region bordering Nepal. The Bundelkhan area is chronically drought affected.

The traditional framework for disaster management in UP has been oriented towards natural hazards and civil disturbances, with revenue, police and fire services as primary emergency responders. The focus has been more on immediate relief and recovery, with the State Relief Commissioner, District Magistrates and Superintendent of Police as crisis managers.

With the increase in frequency of disasters, the emerging context is one of rising levels of vulnerability and escalating costs of disasters, significantly narrowing the differences between natural and human made disasters. There has been paradigm shift in the approach to disaster management, from reactive relief and rehabilitation to proactive mitigation of disasters and pre-disaster preparedness.

UP has been progressive on disaster management measures, having enacted the Disaster Management Act 2005 (the third state to do so after Gujarat and MP). The act provides legal backing to all preparatory and post disaster measures and responses and allocates major responsibilities to all the stakeholders. The UP Disaster Management Authority (UPDMA) has been set up. It is headed by the Chief Minister as its Chairperson, with a 14 member Governing Board. The District Disaster Management committee (DDMC) is headed by the respective District Magistrates.

Disaster specific Working Groups were also formed for each specific disaster, to dovetail ongoing schemes with specific disaster mitigation efforts and address disaster management concerns in annual and five year plans. The working group is headed by an officer at the level of Principal Secretary. The Remote Sensing Application Center- UP (RSAC-UP) advises each working groups.

Natural resources related GIS Mapping of 40 districts has been completed in UP. The Academy of Administration and Management is the nodal institute for all training programmes related to disaster management and disaster management modules have been adopted in all in service training programmes in the state. The subject has been also been introduced in school curricula.

The Gol-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme is currently running in 13 pilot districts and 6 cities. Disaster Management Development Plans have been initiated at district block and village levels. The UNDP supported Disaster Risk Programme operative in 17 states, is also being implemented in UP, covering the following 12 districts- Baharaich, Balrampur, Bijnor, Budaun, Deoria, Ghazipur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Rampur, Saharanpur, Sant Kabir Nagar and Sitapur.

The India Disaster Resource Network (IDRN), under the auspices of MHA-GOI has a district-wise inventory of resources for district magistrates have been directed to update this database on a priority basis. State and District Level Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) have been set up at the office of the Relief Commissioner and 13 pilot districts (Under the UNDP-GOI programme). The district centers are equipped with National Informatics Centre (Nicnet) facilities. SPACENET and POLNET are also being established as per GOI guidelines.

Flood Forecasting Mechanism

Information about water level of major rivers is provided by the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Meteorological Department to the Relief Commissioner and District Control Room, EOC, every day at 9 am and 3 pm, from 15 June onwards. The warning/information from the District Control Rooms is to be communicated to tehsils/police stations through wireless, and is to be subsequently passed on to flood posts through special messengers.

Declaring an Area Disaster Affected

With the enactment of disaster management procedures (gazette August 11, 2005), there are principles and procedures laid down for various stakeholders. The formation of a state DMC chaired by the Chief Minister reveals the importance and priority of the disaster management agenda in the state. The Act contains a provision to declare an area as disaster affected, when several relief and rescue measures are implemented in the area.

The Divisional Commissioner (in case the disaster covers than one district) or District magistrate (where the disaster is limited to the district) sends the report, with recommendations, to the state government. If the state government accepts it, the notification is done through an official gazette as well as publishing the declaration in local newspapers. Thereafter, the commissioner/District Magistrate/DDMA convenes an emergency meeting of all the concerned departments/institution are undertaken as per the District Disaster Management Plan and the plans of various line departments.

As such, land, water and human resources are the most important endowments in UP. The state has been divided into nine agro-climatic regions, areas with their own agro-climatic specifications and related socio-economic linkages. Small and Marginal holders in agriculture comprise the mainstay of the economy in each of these zones.

However, the exact agricultural patterns and livelihood mechanisms vary widely. Essentially, then locale specific and household specific approaches are needed to solve the problems: a “one package fits all” approach does not work. The state faces many problems, including that of structural adjustment and now climate change, all of which impact the sustainability, not only of agriculture and other livelihood mechanisms, but of the very human actors themselves. This is accompanied by oppression at the local level and the distancing of the masses from governance, despite the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). Forced /distress migration, usually as casual labour to the urban areas of the state and the nation’s metros, is the order of the day. The state led solutions, as reflected in major projects like UPDASP and UPLDC, though purportedly eco-friendly and sustainable, end up not being able to achieve their objectives as they are mainly centered around technology transfer and enhancing agri-outputs and do not seek to address the social aspects and long term interests of small, marginal, landless and women farmers, as the approach is not context specific. While components like biodynamic agriculture, organic farming, and indigenous traditional knowledge and soon have been incorporated due to growing pressures, a definite and comprehensive plan is still not in place. Gender equity and other equity issues are largely ignored due to the traditional mindsets of agricultural scientists in northern India.

Article by:
Jitendra Dwivedi

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