Drought has been recognised as a disaster in view of its party expense, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effect on various vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority, discuss the mechanism for preparedness to deal with the El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India.
El Nino and the Indian monsoon are inversely related. Monsoons have generally been poor in the El Nino years, with most of India’s droughts occurring in the El Nino years. The September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority (NDMA) contains a separate chapter on the management of drought.
The guidelines call for establishment of separate Drought Monitoring Cells (DMCs) at the state level, and under the control of the State Government. State DMCs will perform the major function w.r.t drought management and preparedness. The first and foremost responsibility of the DMCs will be preparation of vulnerability maps for their respective state. It will also establish a control room for drought management and strengthen existing mechanisms to monitor droughts. The guidelines also call for specific guidelines to agencies involved in weather related technologies so as to ensure availability of realtime drought related information. Additionally, the guidelines place emphasis on the watershed development approach, integration of ground-based information with space-based information, remote sensing to determine crop health, automatic weather station to detect soil moisture levels, revamping of drought management information system etc.