On India’s ‘heat action plans’

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Disaster, Issue: Natural disasters

Context: Governments at various levels have prepared heat action plans (HAPs) to address increasing heatwave severity and frequency.

  • A heatwave is declared if the maximum temperature reaches specific thresholds: 40°C in plains, 37°C in coast, and 30°C in hills.

Heat action plans (HAPs):

  • Aim to mitigate the adverse impacts of heatwaves by preparing strategies and measures at various government levels.
  • Typically include assessing heat profiles, vulnerability, and response plans,
  • They further have recommendations for early warning systems, public education, and infrastructure development.

Challenges to effective HAP implementation include:

  • The need for localized heatwave definitions,
  • Inconsistent vulnerability assessments and
  • Inadequate consideration of vulnerable populations’ needs.

The way ahead:

  • Allocate resources, integrate with urban resilience plans, and prioritize nature-based solutions
  • Enhance dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders involved in HAP implementation.
  • Ensure HAPs address diverse socio-economic conditions and adapt to climate variability.
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