Coping With Climate Change: An Analysis of India’s State Action Plans on Climate Change; Volume II
India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), released in 2008, recognised the role of state and local governments for the plan to be successfully implemented. This led to the conceptualisation of the State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs). In 2010, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) provided state and union territory governments a common framework (with sufficient flexibility) to prepare their SAPCCs.
This report by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment says that the SAPCC is the first sub-national exercise in climate change planning in India. It also says that the SAPCC is an important milestone in developing decentralised domestic policies on climate change. It involves government departments that handle agriculture, water, habitat, forestry, health and disaster management. By 2018, almost all states and union territories had formulated their SAPCCs.
This report also examines SAPCC formulation in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and analyses the highlights and shortcomings of the SAPCCs of these states. The report concludes that SAPCCs, in their current form, fall short of addressing India’s climate-related challenges.
Following the framework given by the MoEFCC, an SAPCC of the states and union territories includes assessments of regional issues vis-à-vis national priorities, current and future vulnerability to climate change, the emissions and energy needs of different sectors, a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed actions, and an identification of sources of funding for the SAPCC.
The report says that in most states the SAPCCs lack vulnerability assessments that are local, regional or state-specific and apply to various sectors. The climate vulnerability assessments carried out in some states are general and not comprehensive.
The MoEFCC framework for the SAPCCs expects all states to have future projections of the climate scenarios that will affect them. However, local, regional or sector-specific projections are not available for various states. Some states have imported climate scenarios and models developed by international agencies, but these have limitations, such as lack of local data, for instance.
Only a few states have had detailed consultations with people’s groups or communities affected by the changing climate. The report says that the MoEFCC did not provide the states with a proper methodology for carrying out these consultations.
There are huge variations in the SAPCC budgets, and some states have made arbitrary financial demands too that are not commensurate with their requirements or the actions proposed by them. For example, Madhya Pradesh demanded Rs. 5,000 crores, while Tamil Nadu, with a slightly smaller population, demanded Rs. 400,000 crores.
The report states that the MoEFCC didn’t provide the states with a standard framework for ‘bottom-up planning’. Madhya Pradesh held a series of consultation workshops across the state, in all its agro-climatic zones, but other states like Mizoram, Odisha, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu did not do any such bottom-up planning.
While Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha and Tamil Nadu have identified certain sector-wise priorities in their SAPCCs, Punjab only mentions very broad activities. However, there is no clarity on how any of these states plan to implement the activities listed in their SAPCCs.
Some states have established climate change departments and cells to implement the activities listed in their SAPCCs. Uttar Pradesh was the first state to announce a state climate change authority.
The monitoring and evaluation mechanisms proposed by states in their SAPCCs are almost non-existent in practice.
Gujarat has the longest coastline among all the states, and almost 37 per cent of its population lives along the coast. These coastal regions are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but the state’s SAPCC does not feature a comprehensive action plan for its coastal zone.
Climate change adaptation strategies for the agricultural sector ignore, or do not pay adequate attention to, the income security of farmers. Besides, the budgetary allocation for the agricultural sector in most SAPCCs is relatively small compared to other sectors such as water, forests and biodiversity, energy, health, urban development and so on. Uttar Pradesh, for example, allocates only 0.2 per cent of its SAPCC budget to the agricultural sector.
The Centre has not allocated any funds to the states for their SAPCCs and has asked them to arrange for funds through central schemes like MGNREGA and NAPCC. Some states are considering revising their SAPCCs with the help of agencies like Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ) and the United Nations Development Programme.
Focus and Factoids by Tarun Gidwani.
Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi
16 Feb, 2018