As told to Parliament (December 11, 2023): Rice, wheat and maize crops most affected by climate change

Rice, wheat and maize are some of the crops that are most impacted by climate change, Ashwini Choubey, Minister of State in the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, told the Lok Sabha.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Union ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare and the Government of India have conducted climate change impact analysis, including changing monsoon patterns and their effect on the agriculture sector, the minister said. The analysis was carried out under the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project.

In the absence of adaptation measures, climate change projections are likely to reduce rainfed rice yields by 2-20 per cent in 2050 and 10-47 per cent in 2080 scenarios and irrigated rice yields by 2-3.5 per cent in 2050 and 2-5 per cent in 2080 scenarios, he stated.

Wheat yields will likely be reduced by 8.4-19.3 per cent in 2050 and 18.9-41 per cent in 2080 scenarios and kharif maize yields by 10-19 per cent in 2050 and more than 20 per cent by 2080 scenarios, Choubey said.

Impact of climate change

As per the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, various parts of the country have witnessed increasing extreme weather events in the backdrop of global warming, Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

Complex interactions between the earth system components amidst the warming environment and regional anthropogenic influences have led to a rise in frequency of localised heavy rainfall events, drought and flood occurrences, an increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones, etc, the minister said.

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Studies have reported significant rising trends in the frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfall across India, including Tamil Nadu. Changing monsoon patterns and occurrences of extremes have affected various parts of the country, he added.

Regions that are more prone to such events in the changing climate include Central India, northern Indian regions and Western Himalayas (extreme precipitation); north, northwest India and Central India (moderate droughts and expansion in semiarid regions); and coastal states (cyclones and heatwaves), Choubey said.

Dumping chemical waste into rivers

The government has taken a number of steps to reduce chemical waste dumped into the major rivers of the country by the industries and dying units located near the rivers, Choubey told Lok Sabha.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitors the water quality of aquatic resources at 4,703 locations, including 2,155 monitoring locations on rivers under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWMP) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) / Pollution Control Committees, he said.

Air pollution hotspots

Under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), cities / urban local bodies are required to identify air pollution hotspots within the city and prepare emergency response plans as part of the City Action Plan for taking measures to improve air quality, Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

City-level action plans have been prepared in 131 cities. These hotspots have been identified by 117 cities for addressing local sources of air pollution. An amount of Rs 9,631 crore (as on November 2023) has been released to 131 cities (24 states / Union territories) under NCAP for the period 2019-20 to 2023-24.

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The funds released to cities include the XVFC air quality performance grant to Million Plus Cities / Urban Agglomerations for taking air quality improvement measures, Choubey added.

Steel plant waste in roads

Steel slag is generated as a solid waste during steel production, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State in the Union ministry of steel told the Rajya Sabha. For every tonne of steel production, around 180-200 kilogrammes of steel slag is generated in the integrated steel plants, which amounts to around 15 million tonnes steel slag generation annually.

Blending of biofuels

The Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25 estimated 20 per cent requirement for ethanol blending (E20) in Ethanol Supply Year 2025-26, Rameswar Teli, Minister of State in the Union ministry of petroleum & natural gas told the Rajya Sabha.Approximately 1,016 crore litres of petrol will be replaced by ethanol. As per the Roadmap, a successful E20 programme can save the country about $4 billion per annum.

Urban planning

A final geographic information system (GIS) database has been created for 443 towns, draft GIS-based Master Plans prepared for 330 towns and final GIS-based Master Plans have been notified for 180 towns, Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State in the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs told the Rajya Sabha.

The Master Plans were created under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)’s sub-scheme, Formulation of GIS based Master Plan for AMRUT Cities.

AMRUT 2.0, a scheme for the formulation of GIS-based Master Plans of Class-II Towns with a population of 50,000-99,999, has been approved for 675 towns with total outlay of Rs 631.13 crore. This sub scheme is in initial stage of implementation.

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