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1. Forest Fires And Their Management In India

Related information

  • According to Global Forest Watch, India has witnessed a 125% spike in forest fires between 2015 and 2017. In 2017, 23 out of 33 states and union territories reported an increase in forest fires with maximum number of forest fires were reported in Madhya Pradesh (4,781) followed by Odisha (4,416) and Chhattisgarh (4,373).

  • According to India State of Forest Report (ISFR) maximum number of forest fires occurs in Open Forest (OF) followed by Moderately Dense Forests (MDF). About 70% forest fires in India occur in the tropical dry forests encompassing scrub, savanna grassland, dry and moist-deciduous forests.

  • Fire prone region: Himalayan regions and the dry deciduous forests of India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha are ecologically sensitive areas and are most affected by these fires.

  • According to State of India’s Environment report, budget to fight forest fires has been reduced by 14-72% in 13 states in 2017.

  • A report titled Forest Fire Disaster Management, prepared by the National Institute of Disaster Management, about half of India’s forests were prone to fires. 43% were prone to occasional fires and 5% to frequent fires, and 1% were at high or very high risk.


Steps taken by the government for Forest Fire Management in India

  • National Plan for forest fire management o Strengthening of organizational framework- Through appropriate modification and alteration in State Forest Departments’ structural framework and providing sufficient human power.

  • National Forest Fire Danger Rating System- Designing uniform system of Forest Fire Danger Rating and reporting for all States/UT's

  • Effective fire fighting tools and machinery- Provisions of modern and effective tools and machinery e.g. Fire Beaters, Forest Fire Showel, Pulaskis Tools, etc.

  • Financial support to States- Provision of Aids/Loans from GOI to States/UT's according to their action plan for Systematic Forest Fire Management.

  • Creation of a national forest fire control board- With the task of supervising the control of devastating forest fire in exigencies in fragile areas like Himalayan zone, Western Ghats etc.

  • Promotion of people’s participation-Through involvement of NGOs, Voluntary Organisations, Village Forest Committees (VFCs) etc.

  • Other important provisions include - Inclusion of Forest fire management in National Forestry Action Plan (NFAP), designing uniform formats for reporting, monitoring and evaluation, international coordination and transfer of technology, strengthening the existing and introducing new R&D institutions dealing with forest fire management, introduction of a chapter on Forest Fire Working Circle etc.


Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPMS)

  • Intensification of Forest Management Scheme was revised and replaced as Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme in December 2017.

  • It's a centrally sponsored scheme with an aim to focus solely on the issue of forest fire prevention & management and related activities, to address growing concern over adverse effects of forest fire.

  • Funding Pattern:

  • For Normal States: 60:40 between center and states. NE and Himalayan states: 90:10 between center and states For Union Territory: 100% central funding

  • Objective of scheme

  • Long Term Objectives:

  • To minimise forest fire incidences, develop knowledge on impacts and dynamics of forest fire and assist in restoring productivity of forests in affected areas

  • To institutionalise the partnership with forest fringe communities for forest protection

  • To prepare fire danger rating system and devise forest fire forecasting system.

  • To encourage the states/UTs for optimal use of modern technology (such as Remote Sensing, GPS and GIS) in planning, developing and operationalising Fire prevention and management system.

  • To contribute to the larger goal of maintaining environmental stability.

  • To carry out effective awareness campaign for prevention of forest fire

  • To effectively prevent and control forest fires by improving the traditional practices and employing available modern methods

  • To impart suitable training to the field staff and forest fringe communities on fire fighting with help of prescribed means and methods in the forest areas

  • To encourage community participation in prevention and control of forest fire

  • To develop and strengthen Forestry Infrastructure of the States and UTs that are required for effective prevention and management of forest fire.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

  • At National level, MoEFCC will review the scheme and will also carry out third party evaluation after every 3 years.

  • At State Level: State Forest Department will be responsible for regular monitoring and review of achievement under the scheme.


2. Water Scarce Cities

About the problem of water scarcity

  • In the current scenario there is a need to shift the paradigm from traditional urban water practices to an integrated water management mindset that can help secure reliable and sustainable 51  

  • water supplies. Various such threats to urban water security include-

  • Sharp increase in Urban water demand due to Increasing and changing population patterns.

  • Progressive depletion and deterioration of Successful experiences point to five key principles for Resilient Urban Water Scarcity Management

  • Shift culture of abundant water to rationalized demand

  • Hedging against risks through diversified and dynamic water resource portfolios

  • Rely on solutions that are not vulnerable to climate change (such as desalination and wastewater reclamation)

  • Ring Fencing Water Systems from External Competition, i.e., recognizing that water resources can, and should be harnessed within the city boundary

  • Coping with Uncertainty and Variability through Adaptive Design and Operations like network of dams to store excess water from desalination plan. water resources availability and quality.

  • Unanticipated setbacks due to increasing climate change–related shocks and stresses.

  • • Historic water providers shifting priorities due to their own emerging local needs. For instance, shifting balances of power with competitive users in water basins (use of methods like lobbying to get higher share of basin water).


Solution to operationalize the above Principles

  • Demand Management and Infrastructure Efficiency- Rationalizing water demand should target two potential problems - Inefficient water networks, and Profligate water consumption.

  • Improving Water System Efficiency- To be implemented successfully, such programs require technical and operational know-how, which knowledge exchanges between utilities have proven helpful to build.

  • Promoting Water Conservation which are typically mandatory (consumption restriction, constant or seasonal water pricing, drought surcharge etc) or voluntary (providing incentives, education and public outreach which may lead to behavioural changes).

  • Building on Conventional Approaches- Innovative Surface and Groundwater Management should be adopted such as:

  • Optimizing Groundwater Management- Development of a clear urban water metabolism framework to account for the stock and flows, and—in turn—sound groundwater.

  • Water Banking and Virtual Transfers- Surplus water from one year can be stored locally—to avoid evaporative losses—in an unconfined aquifer, withdrawn in subsequent years by the “banker,” and transferred to supplement the water resources of the “client” when needed.

  • Other measures may include inflatable rubber dams used to maximize groundwater infiltration build infrastructure model to protect aquifer from saline intrusion.

  • Nonconventional Water Resources such as storm water Management & Rainwater Harvesting, Wastewater Reuse and Seawater Desalination.

  • Cooperation with Other Users- This requires institutional capacity to negotiate water transfers from low-value uses toward higher value uses and realize associated trade-offs. Good local governance and strong coherence of water, energy, and food policies are key to the efficiency of water management programs.

  • Adaptive Design and Operations: Detailed inventory of the city’s water budget and corresponding vulnerabilities as baseline information for system planning and investments.


3. Maharashtra Project For Climate Resilient Agriculture

  • Related Information - National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)

  • It’s a network project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched in 2011.



  • To enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture covering crops, livestock and fisheries to climatic variability and climate change through development and application of improved production and risk management technologies.

  • To demonstrate site specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to current climate risks.

April Environmental Issues

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