In early March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting with the officials of National Disaster Management Authority and secretaries from the various government departments, including health and family welfare, agriculture and farmer welfare and earth sciences, to assess the general preparedness of concerned departments for the upcoming summer months in the country.
The clear message from the government to the officials is to track the availability of fodder and the water levels in reservoirs.
Prediction from India Meteorological Department: Onset of Early and Intense Heat Wave
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that this year also the heat wave will last from March to May, the second straight year of heat wave. But this year, the heat wave it seems has started early, with extreme temperature already across central and northern states.
Normal Monsoon and Its Effect on Crops and Water Conservation
Prime Minister Modi was briefed on the possibility of a normal monsoon and its effect on Rabi crops. The meeting discussed disaster measures related to heat, mitigation measures and preparedness of medical infrastructure.
Thus, the meeting was also held to check the level of preparedness of medical professionals, local body authorities and disaster response teams. The meeting took stock of the efforts that are underway with regard to supply of water for irrigation, fodder and drinking water.
Preparedness of Hospital Infrastructure
Further, Prime Minister Modi looked at the preparedness of states and hospital infrastructure with regard to the availability of required supplies and preparedness for emergencies. He also mentioned the need for detailed fire audits of all hospitals.
Heat Wave Impacting the Wheat Production and Farmers
As IMD has predicted that the heat wave will prevail across central and northern states, the region where the wheat production is more in India, it might affect the wheat production and the livelihood of the farmers.
In India, wheat is sown in the months of October-November and is harvested in March, but as the temperature is already soaring because of heat wave, it might impact the crop yield and will put undue pressure on farming community.
Heat Wave Affecting Other Crop Yields
The increase in heat wave is very concerning for states where major yield from agriculture is wheat. Last year, the wheat production in these states dropped significantly, forcing the government to ban the export of wheat, leaving farmers in discomfort.
The increase in temperature is not only an issue with wheat production but also with chickpeas and mustard seeds production. It will also put pressure on generation of electricity, as demand increases during summer season.
Optimization of Storage Facility by Food Corporation of India
Prime Minister Modi has instructed the Food Corporation of India to utilize the storage facility under it to its full potential and ensure no wastage of foodgrains under these extreme weather conditions.
Forecasting Daily Weather Report
The India Meteorological Department is tasked to prepare and publish its daily weather forecasts that is easily understood and circulated to all, forecasting in detail the weather pattern.
Action Plan and Coordination Among Different Departments to Deal with Heat Wave
Prime Minister stressed on preparing separate awareness material for different stakeholders like citizens, medical professionals, municipal and panchayat authorities and firefighters. Instructions were also given for creating multimedia lecture sessions in schools to sensitise children to deal with extreme heat wave.
The Government of India through its various departments and National Disaster Management Authority along with authorities in states are putting in action plan and set of instructions to respond to emergency occurring due to the intense change in climate conditions.