Towards drought free India
India is reeling under an intense drought situation which has affected close to 330 million people from 10 states. Bad monsoons and weak policies around water security have further compounded the problem and precipitated a crisis. Rising temperatures and acute water shortages are adversely affecting human health as well as the economy which is primarily reliant on agriculture. This issue of Southasiadisasters.net is titled 'Towards Drought Free India'. Droughts are complex, slow on set disasters which have great implications for society and the economy. With close to 60% of the population involved in agriculture and allied activities, droughts in India can be particularly debilitating. They disrupt rural livelihoods and lead to an increase in distress migration. A combination of strong policy measures and robust grassroots initiatives are needed to alleviate the distress caused by the droughts. This issue of Southasiadisasters.net takes stock of such measures. It highlights the prevailing drought situation from 7 Indian states, viz. Maharashtra, Bihar, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Short and long term measures to combat the adverse impacts of such droughts have also been elaborated. In a predominantly agrarian country like India, livelihood security during a drought is perhaps the most effective preparedness measure. This issue also highlights how the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (MNERGS) can be leveraged to provide succor to drought affected rural communities.