The total annual economic benefits to agricultural households — farmers and livestock owners taken together — from accurate weather forecasting by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and other agencies working under the Ministry of Earth Sciences has been calculated at Rs 13,331 crore, and incremental benefits over the next five years is estimated to be about Rs 48,056 crore for this community, according to a study conducted for the ministry.
Annual income gained by fisherfolks, meanwhile, is estimated to be Rs 663 crore, and the present value of benefits accruing to these households works out to be Rs 2391 crore over a five-year period, the study says.
The findings are part of a study carried out by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) on behalf of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to evaluate economic benefits of the government’s investment in the National Monsoon Mission, which was launched in 2012.
The government has so far invested around Rs 1,000 crore in the Mission, it was informed. The study was released on Saturday by Union Minister of Science and Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
The NCAER is an independent, not-for-profit, economic policy research think tank based in the national capital.
Varshan said: “For every rupee spent by the government on National Monsoon Mission and high-performance computing programmes of MoES, the country would gain economic benefits worth Rs 50, which is 50 times more benefit on the investment over the next five-year period. One of the most prominent weather services of IMD is the agro-meteorological services for farmers for their day-to-day operations.”
Similarly, Vardhan said, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services provides ocean state forecasts and warnings to fisherfolks going out to the sea every day, and that 7 lakh fishermen use these services.
The study spans across 173 rain-fed districts in 16 states and finds that based on weather advisories, 98 per cent farmers made modifications such as changing variety/breed of crop, arranging storage of harvest, early/delayed harvesting, changed crop, early/delayed sowing, changed schedule of ploughing/land preparation, changed pesticide application schedule, changed fertiliser application schedule and changed scheduled irrigation.
Ninety-four per cent farmers surveyed said this helped them either avoid losses, or increase income. Eighty-two per cent fishermen surveyed reported using Ocean State Forecast (OSF) advisories before they venture into the sea every time, and 95 per cent of them reported to have avoided empty trips by following OSF advisories. The study estimates this helped them save Rs 18.25 crore operational costs by avoiding venturing into the sea.
Potential fishing zone (PFZ) advisories resulted in successful trips generating additional catch. A total of approximately Rs 1.92 crore additional income was generated from 1,079 successful fishing expeditions made using PFZ advisories, the survey states.
Secretary, MoES, M Rajeevan said the ministry developed capabilities for measuring and forecasting air pollution in Delhi as well as application tools in diverse sectors, including in agriculture and energy, and that accurate and timely forecasts on natural disasters have helped minimise impact.
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