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Without action plans, India’s poorest will continue to bear brunt of heatwaves: study

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Important Geophysical Phenomena


Source: TH

 Context: A new report by the think-tank Centre for Policy Research on “How is India Adapting to Heatwaves?” indicates that the country is ill-prepared to face the heat.



  • Landmark heatwaves (1998, 2002, 2010, 2015, 2022) have led to large death tolls and extensive economic damage by reducing labour productivity and affecting water availability, agriculture and energy systems.
  • Governments across India have responded by creating heat action plans (HAPs), which prescribe a variety of measures (to decrease the impact of heatwaves) –
    • Preparatory activities
    • Post-heatwave response
  • The report analysed 37 HAPs at the city (9), district (13) and State (15) levels across 18 States, to evaluate how policy action is keeping up with the warming weather in India.


Findings of the report:

  • Heat waves (prolonged periods of extreme heat) have increased in frequency in recent decades due to climate change.
  • HAPs are not built for local contexts.
  • Nearly all HAPs –
    • Fail to identify and target vulnerable groups
    • Are underfunded with weak legal foundations → reduces bureaucratic incentives to prioritise and comply with HAPs instructions
    • Are insufficiently transparent
  • Only 2 HAPs carry out and present vulnerability assessments (systematic studies to locate where the people most likely to be affected are in a city, district, or State).
  • There is no national repository of HAPs and very few HAPs are listed online.


Indian govt initiatives to deal with the impact of heat waves:

Imitative Explanation
Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) To promote sustainable lifestyles and practices that conserve the environment and have climate co-benefits.
Environment Education Programme (EEP) To sensitise children/youth, on issues related to the environment and to motivate them to adopt sustainable lifestyles.


National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health: To increase public awareness on the subject of the health impacts of climate change including heat waves.


India Meteorological Department (IMD) Issues colour-coded impact-based heat wave warnings for public benefit through mass media.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and IMD


They are working with 23 States prone to high temperatures leading to heat-wave conditions for supporting HAPs.
Water Technology Initiative (WTI):


Aims to develop research-based solutions for existing and emerging water challenges facing the country in the area of water quality, quantity, water reuse and recycling.


Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) scheme It focuses on enhancing water use efficiency at the farm level through micro irrigation viz. drip and sprinkler irrigation systems
The Startup India Seed Fund scheme (SISFS) Under the Startup India initiative, the scheme provides –

○       ‘Simplification and handholding’,

○       ‘Funding support and incentives’ and

○       ‘Industry- academia partnership and incubation’ for, prototype development, etc.




  • HAPs must identify sources of financing – either from new funds or by combining actions with existing national and State policies.
  • Set up rigorous independent evaluations as a basis for constant improvement.
  • Raise public awareness on issues related to environmental sustainability and climate change.



Without implementation-oriented HAPs, India’s poorest will continue to suffer from extreme heat, paying with both their health and incomes.


Insta Links:

Heatwaves in India

 Prelims Links: (UPSC 2015)

“Each day is more or less the same, the morning is clear and bright with a sea breeze; as the Sun climbs high in the sky, heat mounts up, dark clouds form, then the rain comes with thunder and lightning. But the rain is soon over.”


Which of the following regions is described in the above passage?

  1. Savannah
  2. Equatorial
  3. Monsoon
  4. Mediterranean


Ans: 2