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Day 57 – Q 4. What measures both preventive and mitigative can be taken to address the ecological hazard of droughts? Suggest.

4. What measures both preventive and mitigative can be taken to address the ecological hazard of droughts? Suggest.

सूखे के पारिस्थितिक खतरे को दूर करने के लिए निवारक और उपशामक दोनों उपाय क्या हो सकते हैं? सुझाव दें।


Drought is a slow onset disaster, which gradually evolves over months and years due to complex interactions of environmental and anthropogenic factors.

Typically, the reason behind drought is considered to be prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall leading to shortage of water. But low rainfall is not the only contributing factor.


Drought impacts are often multifaceted social, economic and environmental.

Economic impacts:

  • Reduced agricultural production leading to reduced harvest and thereby reduction in the earning.
  • Increased cost of farm maintenance due to the additional costs of water provisions and other resources to the farm products (including the reduced usage of fertilizers/ chemicals leading to lesser output).
  • Loss of livelihood for marginal farm workers.
  • Increasing cost of maintaining livestock due to shortage of fodder and drinking water.

Social Impacts:

  • Drought has serious impacts on health and social safety.
  • Nutritional concerns due to poor quality diet and allied health problems, loss of human lives in the extreme scenario.
  • Increasing outmigration in search of alternate jobs to urban areas, which in turn increase the vulnerability of migrants as they settle/ squat in risky areas/ unhygienic conditions.
  • Increasing child drop-out rates and child labor.
  • Early marriage of daughters to reduce financial burden and the linking of non-marriage of daughters to the drought occurrence.
  • Increased stress and anxiety resulting in increasing incidences of farmer suicide.
  • Conflicts over water resources.

Environmental impacts:

The most severe impact of drought is upon the environmental resources. Often droughts result in extensive damage to flora and fauna of a region. The significant impacts include:

  • Increased animal attacks in farm areas due to lack of food in their own habitats.
  • Loss or destruction of fishes and aquatic organisms.
  • Lack of adequate food and drinking water in forests and in extreme cases resulting in loss of wildlife.
  • Migration of wild animals thereby increasing human-animal conflicts.
  • Weak and diseased animals.
  • Loss of wetlands and increasing incidences of wildfires.
  • Degradation of soil quality and soil productivity.
  • Increased erosion and desertification rates.

Drought management guidelines as given by National Disaster Management Authority

Preventive measures: identify drought prone areas and channelize efforts to augment water supply and conservation in these regions through    

  • Judicious use of surface and groundwater.
  • Cloud seeding in Drought Prone regions of India.
  • Use of modern irrigation methods like drip and sprinkler irrigation.
  • Water Conservation, Storage Structures and Management.
  • Afforestation.

Mitigation measures:

  • Contingency Crop Planning – It aims to provide other cropping options to farmers like drought resistant crops.
  • Relief Employment – Due to drought induced employment loss, the arrangement can be made for relief employment programmes with cash and food grain assistance.
  • Gratuitous assistance in the form of cash or food grains to people who might not be able to participate in the relief employment programmes or who are in the category of dependents.
  • Relief through Tax Waivers and Concessions will help people to meet their basic entitlements.
  • Cattle camps and Fodder supply helps farmer in protecting their cattle by providing necessary assistance for their fodder, feed and health. This is done to discourage distress selling of cattle which is an important asset to farmers.
  • Crop Insurance schemes.

Note: Question demands only Preventive and Mitigation measures.


As per the rough estimates about 16 percent of the total geographical areas of India are drought prone and approximately 50 million people are annually affected by droughts. About 68 percent of the total sown area of the country is drought prone; which amounts to 329 million hectares. As erratic Indian monsoon gets further affected by climate change, water conservation through comprehensive strategy needs a focus to address recurring droughts in future.

Best answer: Sreelakshmy Vijayan Uma

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