Disasters’ Destroying Economic Potential
As per the Odisha Economic Survey 2018-2019, Odisha s economic growth was severely hindered by several natural disasters which have occurred at frequent intervals.
What does the survey say?
- Disasters have caused enormous losses to life, livelihoods, property, and infrastructure. This has put an impediment on the State s economic growth trajectory.
- Historically, droughts and floods have reduced the growth potential of the state and reduced its GDP.
- The report also states that the recent trends have shown that the frequency, intensity, and extent of droughts in the State are increasing leading to severe negative impacts on the agricultural sector (the primary employer) in the State.
- In natural disasters, apart from the loss of life and limb, natural disasters also lead to a cycle of crop failure, the decline in surface and groundwater level, increasing unemployment and under-employment, migration and indebtedness .
- Thus, the economy of the state not only suffers in the same year but also for the years to come creating a cycle of misery in the state.
- Odisha is highly vulnerable to the cyclones, floods and pest infestations.
The Big Picture
Unlike the western countries, which have better economies and technically preparedness to handle climate change and its repercussions, it is countries like India and China which will bear the brunt of disasters caused by rising emissions and a planet-warming due to the greenhouse effect. However, if we are maintaining our economic productivity even in face of natural disasters, our economy must be resilient and the disaster response agencies like the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) must be further technically improved and equipped.