India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters. More than 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity; over 40 million hectares (12%) of its land is prone to floods and river erosion; close to 5,700 kms, out of the 7,516 kms long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68% of its cultivable area is vulnerable to droughts; and, its hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches.
Disaster risks in India are further compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics and socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, climate change, geological hazards, epidemics and pandemics. Clearly, all these contribute to a situation where disasters seriously threaten India’s economy, its population and sustainable development.
- Of the 7,516 km long coastline, close to 5,700 km is prone to cyclones and tsunamis
- 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity
- Over 40 million hectares (12 per cent of land) is prone to floods and river erosion
Since Independence, India has borne the brunt of a large number of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, drought and pest attacks. The main reason why India is susceptible to such disasters is because of its geographical location, weather and other physical features. The rising population of the country has driven farmers to settle in risky areas like flood plains, drought-prone areas, cyclone-prone areas and seismic zones. Natural disasters leading to a failure of crops play havoc with the economy of a country.
According to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between 2008 and 2018, approximately USD 280 billion was lost as a result of declines in crop and livestock production following natural disasters. Out of the total, Asia experienced crop and livestock production loss valued at a notable USD 49 billion, with Southeast Asia and Southern Asia surpassing all other sub-regions at USD 20.7 and USD 25 billion respectively.
National Agriculture Management Plan
The Ministry of Agriculture and Famers Welfare has prepared the National Agriculture management Plan (NADMP) which aims to reduce the existing risks of disasters and manage the actual and potential events of disasters more effectively The plan has identified 34 hazards that pose a risk to the agricultural sector and where timely interventions are needed. These include heat waves, earthquakes, animal attacks on fields, desertification, agricultural fires, cyclone and overdependence on chemicals.
The Government has introduced yield-based Pradhan Mantri FasalBima Yojana (PMFBY) and weather based Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) from Kharif 2016 to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of natural calamities, adverse weather incidence and to stabilize income of farmers.
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India
- FAO. 2021. The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security: 2021.