New Delhi: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh Sunday said entire India will be covered by Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) network by 2025 to predict extreme weather events more accurately and across the country.
Delivering keynote address on the occasion of 148th Foundation Day of India Meteorological Department (IMD) here, Dr Jitendra Singh took pride in the fact that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government, IMD has taken pro-active steps to increase the Radar Network from mere 15 in 2013 to 37 in 2023 and will add 25 more in next 2-3 years.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed the Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and LG of J&K, who joined the event virtually that IMD has augmented Doppler Weather Radar network in HP, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and J&K which will help further to predict extreme weather events more accurately.
Dr Jitendra Singh dedicated 4 Doppler Weather Radar Systems to the Western Himalayan States of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. He also dedicated 200 Agro Automated Weather Stations to the nation. The Minister also released eight publications of the IMD and gave away awards to school children and also felicitated the best performing offices and officers of IMD.
He informed that Under Agro-Meteorological Services, it is targeted to establish 660 District Agro Meteorological Units (DAMUs) by 2025 and increase from 3,100 blocks in 2023 to 7,000 blocks in 2025.
The Minister pointed out that the warning and advisory services are helping farmers and fishermen to improve their economy as found from a latest survey by National Centre for Applied Economic Research. For example, the investment in monsoon mission programme has resulted in return of 50 rupees for investment of each one rupee.
The Minister further added that the farmers below the poverty line specially have benefited immensely as Agromet Advisories at District and Block Levels are used effectively by crores of farmers during various stages of farming and the service is being expanded. The web GIS services launched by IMD last year have been augmented further with addition of hazard and vulnerability element in collaboration with other state and central agencies is helping the public, disaster managers and stakeholders to initiate timely response action to mitigate the disasters further, the Minister noted.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Climate Services are very important for short and long term planning and strategy development and IMD has already initiated these services in five major thrust areas of Agriculture, Health, Water, Energy and Disaster Risk Reduction and has lined up plans to expand them through customization of products. He said, soon a National Framework will be created on priority to provide climate products and information for Sectoral applications.
Dr Jitendra Singh appreciated IMD for continuously redefining its focus for accurate Prediction of weather including monsoon and cyclones as our GDP is still largely dependent on agriculture. He noted with satisfaction that there has been significant improvement in forecast accuracy of various severe weather events including tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, fog, heat wave, cold wave, thunderstorm etc.
He underlined before the dignitaries that the accuracy has increased by about 20-40% for different severe weather events forecast during last five years. He said, taking a cue from Prime Minister’s Whole of Government Approach, the Weather Department is making best use of Space based observation of INSAT-3D and 3DR, OceanSat satellites for prediction of other weather events.
Elaborating the impact of forecasting on human lives, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it has succeeded in minimizing loss of lives from various extreme events like cyclone, heavy rain, thunderstorm, heat wave and cold wave etc. in the recent years with its precise forecasting and timely warnings.
He added that the loss of lives has been reduced to single or double digit figures due to cyclones and heat waves due to the response action by the disaster managers, general public and stakeholders under the umbrella of National Disaster Management Plans, guidelines, SOPs introduced by the present Government. He also appreciated IMD for commencing impact based weather forecast and risk based warning at city and district-level considering hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment in a geo-spatial platform.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is quite befitting to place on record that when India has assumed Presidency of G-20 in 2023, the IMD has also started to put its mark on Regional and Global Weather Eco-System.
The Minister was happy to note that the recently introduced Flash Flood Guidance in 2021 has been augmented further by increasing the number of watersheds from 30,000 to 1,00,000 of the country in 2022. It is being provided every 6 hours to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka apart from our national use.