Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 16 June 2023
- India’s heat emergency plan: rising heatwaves?
- U.S.-India Defence Ties: Boosting Cooperation
- In Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, fourteen individuals just passed away from heatstroke during a formal government ceremony held on open land. There were many hundred hospitalised.If the proper safety measures had been taken, this tragedy might have been avoided.
- In India, the temperature has been constantly rising. The country saw its warmest February on record in 2023. Despite the fact that the monthly average temperatures in March and April were above average, they were not unusually high since sporadic thunderstorms brought the temperature down. However, despite not being traditional heatwaves, some days saw daily maximum temperatures that were 2-3 degrees higher than average.
- Given that heat waves are expected to grow by a factor of six by 2060, such preparations are urgently required to safeguard vulnerable areas.
GS Paper 3: Climate Change
What steps has the Indian government made to combat the growing risk of heatwaves and safeguard communities at risk? Talk about the necessity of long-term planning and comprehensive heat action plans for managing different sectors in light of rising temperatures. (250 Words)
A heat wave is “a period of abnormally hot weather, often defined with reference to a relative temperature threshold, lasting from two days to months,” according to the IPCC.
What causes heat waves?
- Heat Waves happen when hot, dry air from the upper atmosphere sinks and pushes down towards the earth’s surface. A stifling dome of heat is created as the air is compressed and heated even more as it descends. As a result, clouds are less likely to form, which makes the area even hotter by allowing the heat of the sun to directly hit the ground. This explains why hot, sunny days frequently see heat waves.
- A heat dome is created when hot ocean air is trapped in the atmosphere, as if it were enclosed by a lid or cap. During the months of April and May, the Indian subcontinent typically experiences an Omega block, which is a slow-moving upper air weather phenomenon. Due to climate change, there is now more heat accumulating, leading to more extreme heat waves.
Heatwave Zones & Vulnerable Populations:
- The 760 million people who live in the arid northwest region of India and Pakistan are particularly susceptible to extreme heat waves. Temperatures frequently exceed 40°C in April and May, occasionally resulting in sweltering heat waves. In recent years, these occurrences have increased in severity, lasted longer, and occurred more frequently.
- Geographically, the Indo-Pak region is cut in half by the heatwave zone. States in India that are in the heatwave zone include Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
- In India, heatwaves killed roughly 17,362 people between 1971 and 2019, or 350 people on average every year.
Climate Change Effects
- The increase in global mean temperatures of 1 degree Celsius brought on by historical carbon emissions is directly responsible for the amplification of heat extremes. Unfortunately, the world community’s present pledges are insufficient to stop an increase in temperature of 1.5°C between 2020 and 2040 and 2°C between 2040 and 2060.
- By 2050, there will be 1 billion people living in the region, making it even more vulnerable to the effects of future heat waves.
- Given that it is difficult to imagine what would happen if global temperatures doubled in the next few decades, this issue needs to be addressed right away.
Heatwaves, Drought, Fires, and Pollution:
- In 2022, India and Pakistan experienced record-breaking heat waves from March to May, with temperatures exceeding 50°C in both countries. These harsh temperatures hampered wheat production, prompting a limitation in wheat exports to ensure national food security.
- The absence of thunderstorms during this time period aggravated the impact, resulting in widespread fires, crop loss, and water scarcity.
- Additionally, when particulates from fires and stubble burning lingered in the air, sluggish meteorological conditions contributed to increased pollution levels.
The Immediate Need for Action:
- For the next five days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will issue six-hourly heatwave warnings. These forecasts are sent to all Indian cities and districts, and depending on the severity of the heatwave, the local authorities issue a yellow (watch), orange (be prepared), or red (take action) alert. Planning ahead may benefit from looking at the heatwave outlooks for the upcoming two weeks and the entire season.
- The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation created a Heat Action Plan for the city in accordance with the weather projections following the deadly heat waves of 2010. The effects of heat stress on the local population have been lessened because to community engagement, health alerts, training for healthcare professionals, and initiatives specifically targeted at vulnerable groups. With the aid of disaster management organisations and health departments, numerous cities and States have started their own action plans after learning from Ahmedabad’s heat action plan.
- Given that heatwaves are here to stay and are only going to get worse, policies are necessary. We have access to enough data to pinpoint the areas where heatwaves are becoming more frequent, and we must implement measures there.
- Integrating a heat emergency plan into the education system and workplace policies can equip people to handle heat emergencies and protect their health and well-being.
- We need to redesign our cities to have open spaces and trees that help release the excess heat quickly and also act as hubs for shade and cooling down.
- In order to manage our work schedules, public infrastructure, workplaces, homes, transportation, and agriculture in preparation for impending heat waves, India requires a long-term vision.
Regular heatwave forecasts from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) enable local governments to issue the proper notifications based on intensity. But relying exclusively on projections is inadequate. The implementation of comprehensive heat action programmes founded on long-term vision is necessary.
Significant strides in the U.S.-India defence partnership have been made possible by Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin’s recent trip to India. The visit’s main goals were to advance technological innovation and boost military cooperation.
GS Paper 2: Bilateral relations
Consider the consequences for India’s self-reliance objectives of the roadmap for defence industrial cooperation between the United States and India. (150 words)
1. Roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation: A road map for defence industrial cooperation was agreed upon, and it is in line with the iCET effort between the United States and India. The road map intends to increase technology collaboration, support India’s aspirations of self-sufficiency, and lessen reliance on imports to improve defence manufacture in India.
2. Accelerating Co-development and Co-production: The road map’s creation represents a significant step towards improving the two countries’ defence cooperation. It aims to hasten important co-development and co-production projects, fostering closer ties between the Indian and American defence industries.
3. Indus-X: Fueling interaction in Defence Innovation: The Indus-X initiative’s launch has increased interaction in defence innovation between the two nations. This project creates new options for engagement in defensive space exchanges and builds upon the bilateral Space Situational Awareness agreement that was signed in 2022 with the goal of enhancing information-sharing and cooperation in the space domain.
4. Strengthening the Indo-Pacific Imperative: The American security Secretary has emphasised the vital importance of the U.S.-India security alliance in the Indo-Pacific area.Given its coercive tactics and expanding naval capabilities, shared threat assessments identify China as a common threat. In order to address these issues and preserve regional stability, the collaboration becomes increased significance.
The U.S. government’s support for India’s defence modernization aims to foster joint ventures, enhance U.S. participation in Indian defence manufacturing, and address current challenges in co-development and co-production.
5. Broader Industrial Cooperation: The current scale of American investments in India provides a solid foundation for expanding industrial cooperation between Indian and U.S. companies in the defence sector.
- Recent developments show promise, despite the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) receiving criticism for bureaucratic roadblocks and complicated technology transfer.
- The iCET agreement revitalises the DTTI and gives co-production and co-development in the defence sector a specific boost as the strategic cooperation between India and the US is elevated.
Finally, Secretary Austin’s trip to India set the stage for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming state visit to the United States, where significant announcements about defence cooperation are anticipated. The growing defence alliance between the United States and India, which is supported by common democratic ideals, has a tremendous potential to advance both countries’ economic development and regional stability.