INDIA’S HEAT ACTION PLAN (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Disaster Management)

News-CRUX-10     18th April 2024        
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Context: The IMD has also predicted an increase in the maximum temperature and the frequency of heatwave conditions in the forthcoming days over eastern and southern India, raising the question of India’s readiness to face this hazard.

Heat Waves

  • Meaning: It is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. 
  • Seasonal Occurrence: Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.
  • Regional Variability: In certain countries, it is defined in terms of the heat index based on temperature and humidity or based on extreme percentile of the temperatures.

Criteria for Declaring Heat Waves:

  • Maximum Temperature Thresholds: Declared when the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C.
  • Departure from Normal Heat Wave: Departure from normal temperature ranges from 4.5°C to 6.40°C.
  • Actual Maximum Temperature Heat Wave: Declared when the actual maximum temperature is equal to or exceeds 450°C.

Tackling Heatwaves

  • Increasing Preparedness: Governments at various levels have devised Heat Action Plans (HAPs) to enhance readiness and mitigate the adverse effects of heatwaves.
  • Collaborative Efforts: The National Disaster Management Authority and IMD are collaborating with 23 States to develop HAPs, demonstrating a coordinated approach.
  • State and City Initiatives: While there's no centralized database, at least 23 HAPs are in place at the state and city levels, with some states, like Odisha and Maharashtra, extending plans to the district level.
  • Standardized Framework: HAPs in India follow a standardized framework, providing insights into past heatwave occurrences, annual temperature trends, vulnerability assessments, and response plans.
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