Heatwave Preparedness in India

GS-1 Mains Exam

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Explain the concept of heatwaves and their impact on different regions of India, highlighting the minimum temperature thresholds defined by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)

Heatwave Definition (IMD):

  • Varies based on region (plains, coast, hills).
  • Minimum thresholds:
    • Plains: 40°C
    • Coast: 37°C
    • Hills: 30°C
  • Severity based on departure from normal temperature.

Heat Action Plans (HAPs):

  • Developed by state/city governments to manage heatwaves.
  • Aim to reduce heatwave impact through preparedness, response, and recovery strategies.
  • Developed with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and IMD.
  • At least 23 HAPs exist at state/city level, with some states having district-level plans.

Components of a Typical HAP:

  • Heat profile: Past heatwave events, temperature trends, land surface temperature.
  • Vulnerability assessment: Identify high-risk regions.
  • Response plan:
    • Early warning systems for public and authorities.
    • Public education campaigns on heatwave risks.
    • Setting up heat shelters and cooling centers.
    • Providing clean drinking water to prevent dehydration.
    • Equipping hospitals with supplies and trained personnel.
  • Long-term measures:
    • Urban planning with tree plantation.
    • Heat-resistant building materials to reduce urban heat island effect.
    • Cool roofing technologies to lower indoor temperatures.

Recommendations for Improvement:

  • Expand heatwave definition to include humid heat and warmer nights.
  • Develop a heat index considering multiple factors beyond temperature.
  • Conduct robust climate risk assessments for heatwave likelihood and exposure.
  • Create hotspot maps for targeted interventions using geospatial data.
  • Allocate dedicated budgets for HAPs.
  • Integrate HAPs with broader urban resilience and climate adaptation plans.


Supreme Court Verdict on Climate Change and Great Indian Bustard

GS-2 Mains Exam

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Discuss the significance of the Supreme Court verdict on climate change and its implications for biodiversity conservation, focusing on the case of the Great Indian Bustard


  • Supreme Court recognized the right to be free from adverse climate impacts.
  • Judgment focused on Great Indian Bustard conservation vs. renewable energy development.

The Great Indian Bustard:

  • Critically endangered bird in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Habitat overlaps with areas of high wind and solar energy potential.
  • Public interest litigation sought to halt overhead power line construction due to collision risks.
  • Supreme Court imposed a blanket ban on new overhead lines and ordered existing lines undergrounded.

Government’s Argument:

  • Overhead power lines crucial for meeting renewable energy goals and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Undergrounding impractical due to high cost and technical challenges.
  • Bustard decline due to factors like poaching, habitat loss, and predation.

Right to be Free from Climate Impacts:

  • Recognized by the Court but not binding as it’s not in the operative judgment.
  • Seen as a positive step for climate rights discourse.
  • Needs further articulation to be fully effective.

Just Transition Framework:

  • Alternative approach gaining traction in climate cases worldwide.
  • Aims for equitable and inclusive transitions to a low-carbon economy.
  • Prioritizes interests of workers, vulnerable communities, and small businesses.

Advantages of Just Transition Framework:

  • Avoids presenting climate action and biodiversity protection as opposing forces.
  • Promotes inclusive climate action that respects diverse rights and interests.
  • Enables more reflexive and inclusive climate rights.
  • Can ensure ecological justice by considering non-human nature’s interests.

Way Forward:

  • Opportunity to define the content of the right to be free from climate impacts for inclusivity and effectiveness.
  • Shared responsibility for shaping this right:
    • State
    • Activists
    • Litigants
    • Academics (through participation in recognition, articulation, and enforcement)


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