According to a National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report, eight Indian states – Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal are highly sensitive to climate change.
These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritization of adaptation interventions, the report states.
In all states, more than 60 percent of the districts in Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand are in the category of highly sensitive districts.
The report said the lack of per 100 rural population was found to be one of the major drivers of vulnerability for Assam, despite the fact that the state has a forest cover of 42 per cent, followed by lower road density, the report said is.
In the case of Bihar, the report cited 36 districts as being the major vulnerability drivers of poor health infrastructure, followed by a higher percentage of marginal and small operating holders in 24 districts.
The lack of implementation of the rural employment scheme MNREGA, due to lack of alternative livelihood opportunities, appeared as a major driver in 14 districts of Bihar, followed by a decrease in the participation of women in the workforce in 11 districts.
Lack of crop insurance and rainfed agriculture was a major driver of risk for Jharkhand.
A report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Plan in India for Climate Change’, which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India, including the major drivers of current climate risk and security, released by the Department of Science and Technology Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of Gaya (DST).
Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim and Punjab are classified as lower-middle weaker states. Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra are classified as low vulnerability states.
He said, “We have seen how extreme incidents are increasing both in terms of their number and severity. Mapping parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help in initiating climate actions at the grassroots level.
Sharma said, “The report should be made easily accessible to all stakeholders so that it can benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through the development of better designed climate change adaptation projects.”
He also suggested that the map should be made available to those who need it.
“Assessing risk was the first step towards assessing climate risk. There are two other components such as hazard and risk that need to be evaluated to arrive at overall climate risk.
Akhilesh Gupta, head of DST’s Climate Change Program (CCP), said, “DST will complete these assessments with assessment and assessment of regional weaknesses at sub-district levels in the next phase.”
Retired climate change expert Prof. NH Ravindranath from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) pointed out that this report has helped in identifying the weakest states, districts and panchayats and prioritizing adaptation investment in developing and implementing adaptation programs Will help
IIT Mandi director Prof Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi and IIT Guwahati director TG Sitharaman hoped that the report would be taken by the states to initiate climate action.
A total of 94 delegates from 24 states and two union territories jointly participated in the nationwide exercise by the DST and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Corinne Demange, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office, Switzerland’s Embassy in India, hoped that the assessment would contribute to the development of more targeted climate change projects and that they would support the implementation and possible amendments of state action plans on climate change.
“The assessment can be used for reporting India on nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. And finally, these assessments will support India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, ”she said.
The assessment will help policy makers to initiate appropriate climate actions. It will benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through the development of better designed climate change adaptation projects.
In a developing country like India, vulnerability assessment is considered an important practice to develop appropriate adaptation projects and programs.