India Meteorological Department (IMD)

    • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
    • It is an agency of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
    • It is headquartered in Delhi. Regional offices are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune.
    • It operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.
    • It is one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMC) of the World Meteorological Organisation.
    • It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.


  • IMD’s response to extreme weather events has improved in last few years.
  • IMD’s forecasting of cyclones Amphan and Nisarga on the East and West coast of India were quite accurate vis-à-vis earlier forecasts.
  • Steps taken by IMD
    • Improvements in observatory data collection: advanced weather satellites, INSAT-3D and INSAT 3D- R.
    • Better Weather prediction models:
    • Data collected improved
    • Computing power increased to 8.6 teraflops from 1 teraflop.
    • Ensemble   Prediction   Systems (EPS), 2018: to provide probabilistic weather forecasts up to next 10 days.
    • Meghdoot App, UMANG App (giving out weather forecast-based agro advisories to farmers) etc.

Disaster Resilient infrastructure

Infrastructure that can stand any huge damage from any kind of natural disaster.

  • Structural Measures: adjusting engineering designs and standards.
    • Eg. flood control systems, protective embankments, seawall rehabilitation, and retrofitting of buildings.
  • Non-structural measures: risk sensitive planning, enabling institutional frameworks, hazard mapping etc.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

    • An India-led global Coalition. Secretariat: New Delhi.
    • Structure:
      • Governing Council is the highest policymaking body of CDRI.
      • co-chaired by India and a nominated member, on rotation every two years.
      • Recently, UK was confirmed as the first co-chair.
    • Announced by India’s PM at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in USA.
    • Idea introduced in Asian ministerial conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2016.
    • Founding members: India, UK, Australia, Italy, Japan, Bhutan, Fiji, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka. (No USA, China, Russia)
    • It is a voluntary international grouping.
    • Second major coalition launched by India outside the UN, after the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
    • Secretariat: National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurugram.
    • CDRI will uphold the UN Agenda 2030 principle of leaving no one, no place, and no ecosystem behind.

COVID-19 and Disaster Management

    • COVID-19 is the first pan India biological disaster being handled by the constitutional institutions of the country.
    • First time, a pandemic recognised as a ‘notified disaster’ in the country by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • The Disaster Management Act invoked for the first time in India to effectively manage this crisis.
    • The lockdown is imposed under the DM Act, 2005.

Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005

  • Key Provisions

    • Institutional Structure: It provides for National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), State DMA (SDMA) and District DMA (DDMA).
    • NDMA: headed by the Prime Minister.
      • It is the nodal central body for coordinating disaster management.
      • It lays down policies, plans and guidelines for management of disaster.
    • SDMA: chaired by CM. It lays down the state disaster management policy.
    • DDMA: chaired by DM. Elected representative of the local authority shall be the ex officio co-chairperson.
      • In tribal areas (6th Schedule), Chief Executive Member of the District Council to be the ex officio co-chairperson.
    • National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by Home Secretary: Toassist and implement the policies and plans of NDMA.
      • To ensure the compliance of directions issued by the Central Government.
    • National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM): Todevelop training modules, and to undertake research and documentation etc.
    • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): specialist response to a disaster.
    • Funds: National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and SDRF and DDRF.
    • Mitigation Funds: Centre may constitute a National Disaster Mitigation Fund for mitigation exclusively.
      • Similar funds may be created at State and District level.
    • Every Ministry or department to a provision for disaster management in its annual budget.
    • Centre can issue such directions as necessary to tackle the disaster and every official of the Centre and the state government shall be bound to comply with such directions.


National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)

    • Formation: National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) was renamed as National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) with the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
    • It is defined in Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
    • Part of Public Account of Government of India under “reserve funds not bearing interest”.
    • Financing: Financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty
    • Currently, a National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) is levied. Additional budgetary support is also provided.
    • Monitoring: Department of Agriculture and Cooperation monitors relief activities for calamities associated with drought, hailstorms, pest attacks and cold wave/frost.
    • Rest natural calamities are monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • CAG audits the accounts of NDRF.
    • Disasters covered: Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.
    • Also, state government may use up to 10% of funds for local disasters i.e. not included in notified list.
    • News: NDRF funds are used to provide food and accommodation to migrant workers during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)

  • Section 48 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 stipulates constitution of SDRF at State level.
  • It is the primary fund available with the State governments for responses to notified disasters.
  • Centre contribution to SDRF: 75% for general category States and UTs, 90% for special category States/UTs.
  • NDRF supplements the SDRF in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF.


  • Centre revised ceiling for utilization of SDRF from 25 to 35% to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COVID- 19 is treated as a notified disaster for purpose of providing assistance under SDRF by Home ministry.

National Executive Committee (NEC)

  • Constituted under section 8 of Disaster Management Act, 2005
  • To act as coordinating and monitoring body for disaster management.
  • Chaired by Union Home Secretary.

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

  • Applied by states to impose lockdowns.
  • The Act was formulated amidst the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Bombay.
  • It is historically used as a framework for containing the spread of diseases. Eg. cholera and malaria.
  • Central and state governments can take “exceptional measures and prescribe regulations” to be observed by the citizens to contain the spread of a disease.
  • The act does not define dangerous, infectious, or contagious diseases, or an epidemic.

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES)

    • An intergovernmental institution
    • Evolved in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
    • To build capacity in the end-to-end early warning of tsunami and hydro- meteorological hazards.
    • Regional early warning center at Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.
    • India is a founding member; and currently chairs RIMES Council.

Cyclone ‘Amphan’

    • In the eastern coastal states – West Bengal and Odisha.
    • It is only the second super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999.
    • A tropical cyclone with a wind speed more than 222 km/hr is a super cyclone. – IMD. 
    • IMD is the nodal agency for cyclone management.

National Guidelines for the Management of Cyclones:

guidelines are evolved due to paradigm shift from earlier rescue and relief centric approach to holistic approach. It suggests-

  • Structural Measures: eg. adequate shelters, community centres, school buildings, construction of saline embankments etc.
  • Non – Structural Measures: eg. Coastal Zones Management (Mangrove forests, shelterbelts), Early Warning Systems (Automatic Weather Stations, Doppler radars etc.), Communication and Dissemination Systems (cellular telephone network, Disaster Warning System terminals).

National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP)

  • To strengthen the structural and non-structural cyclone mitigation efforts and reduce the risk and vulnerability of the coastal districts which are prone to cyclones.
  • To be implemented with World Bank assistance of $300 million.
  • NDMA implements the Project in coordination with states and NIDM.
  • Four components:
    • early warning dissemination system.
    • Cyclone risk mitigation investment.
    • Technical assistance for hazard risk management.
    • Project management and institutional support.
  • News: The government has drawn up NCRMP to be implemented with World Bank assistance of $300 million.

Naming of Tropical Cyclones

  • Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots (61 km/h), names are assigned from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate.
  • However, standards vary from basin to basin.
  • Before the formal start of naming, tropical cyclones were named after places, objects, or saints’ feast days on which they occurred.
  • Worldwide there are six regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) mandated.
  • IMD is a RSMCs. It names the Tropical Cyclones over the north Indian Ocean.
  • The new names were contributed by 13 member countries of WMO/ESCAP panel on tropical cyclones (PTC).
  • Names of cyclones provided by India are Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar, Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega.
  • Naming for north Indian Ocean started from 2004.
  • News: IMD released a list of 169 new names for tropical cyclones in the north Indian Ocean region.

Inter-governmental Panel on Tropical Cyclones

  • A regional body jointly established by WMO + UN-ESCAP in 1972.
  • It is associated with the Tropical Cyclone Programme of WMO.
  • India is a member.

Gas Leak at Vizag

  • Styrene gas leaked from Vishakhapatnam based Polymers Factory caused multiple deaths.
  • NGT held that LG Polymers India Ltd. has absolute liability for the loss of life.


  • A colourless liquid (not gas) organic compound used in the manufacture of polymers, plastic, resins etc.
  • It is manufactured in petrochemical refineries.
  • It is a likely carcinogenic substance.
  • It reacts with oxygen to make styrene dioxide which is more lethal.
  • Styrene exists as a single molecule, but it is unstable.
  • Autopolymerisation: it tries to combine with itself to make long chains, especially at temperatures over 65°C. This process is exothermic and can become uncontrollable.
  • Hence, it is stored at low temperatures (15°C to 20°C).


Doctrine of Absolute Liability

  • This concept evolved in India after the case of M.C Mehta vs Union of India (1986), famously known as Oleum Gas Leak case.
  • the enterprise owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community, and ensures no harm to anyone on account of hazardous activity. – Supreme Court.

Doctrine of Strict Liability

  • A party is not liable and need not pay compensation if a hazardous substance escapes the premises by accident or by an “act of God” etc.
  • Before the MC Mehta case, India followed it.

Seismic zones

Bureau of Indian Standards has grouped the country into four seismic zones.

Zone II, III, IV and V.

Basis: seismicity, earthquakes history, tectonic setup of the region.

Delhi lies in Zone-IV.

News: Multiple low magnitude shallow earthquakes hit the Delhi-NCR with their epicenter in Delhi-NCR.



Link between Earthquakes and ionosphere

  • Sudden movement in Earth crust produces pressure waves in Atmosphere.
  • These waves propagate upwards till ionosphere.
  • Ionised particles/electrons in ionosphere get redistributed according to the wave, thereby creating Co-seismic ionospheric perturbations (CIP).
  • These CIPs are derived using the Global Positioning System (GPS)

Coupled Lithosphere Atmosphere Ionosphere Magnetosphere System (CLAIMs)

  • An interdisciplinary program
  • By Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG)
  • Funded by DST.
  • To study on energy transfer to the atmosphere during solid Earth processes. Eg. earthquakes, tsunamis.

Artificial Neural Networks based global Ionospheric Model (ANNIM)

What is Artificial Neural Network?

  • It is a computational model that replicates processes in the human brain (or biological neurons) to solve problems.
  • Eg. pattern recognition, generalization, etc.

What is ANNIM?

  • A Model to Predict Ionospheric Electron Density.
  • Ionospheric electron density is influenced by both solar and Earth atmosphere processes.
  • Developed by Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), Dept. of Science & Tech.
  • Tracking variabilityof Ionosphere is important for communication & navigation.
  • The Earth-orbiting satellites revolve in ionosphere.Eg.International Space Station.

Model Flood Plain Zoning Bill, 1975

  • Centre has asked states for enactment of suitable legislation on lines of this bill.
  • Floodplains and protection of riverbeds are state subjects (7th Schedule)
  • Thus, a law on this can be made only by states.
  • Only Manipur, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have so far enacted this legislation.

Flood plain zoning

  • Dividing flood area into different zones
  • To restrict occupancy of different zones
  • It is non-structural flood mitigation measure: i.e. knowledge, practice or agreement etc.

Flash Droughts

  • Flash drought is characterized by rapid onset and intensification caused by high evapotranspiration.
  • Unlike conventional drought that propagates slowly.
  • Reasons: winds, high incoming solar radiation, lack of precipitation (precipitation deficit flash drought), anomalously high temperature (heatwave flash drought).
  • It is a type of agricultural drought: due to direct association with soil moisture and crop stress.
  • News: 39 flash droughts during 1951-2018; 80% occurred in monsoon season.

Human Fingerprint research

    • Climate that human experiences at any point in time is influenced by both natural and human.
    • A fingerprinting research separates these influences.
    • Human Fingerprints means human influence on global climate. Important human influence includes greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions and polluting aerosols.

    New Human fingerprint on global drought patterns: According to a new study, Human-caused climate change has intensified patterns of extreme rainfall and drought across the globe.


    • It is a weather-related Natural Disaster of very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere.
    • These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds.
    • It killed 83 people in Bihar, 24 in Uttar Pradesh in a single day.
    • NDMA issued guidelines on lightning in 2018, asking states to prepare action plan.

Mechanism of lightning:

  • Collision between ice crystals in large clouds which trigger the release of electrons and a chain reaction.
  • This results in top layer of cloud getting positively charged, and middle layer getting negatively charged.
  • Hence, a huge electrical potential difference (PD) is created.
  • Due to this PD, an electric current is formed.
  • As Earth is a good conductor of electricity, about 20% of the current directs towards Earth.


Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)

    • An intergovernmental organization.
    • Works to build the resilience to disasters and climate change impacts in Asia and the Pacific.
    • Established: 1986, Headquarter: Bangkok, Thailand.
    • It provides comprehensive technical services to support sustainable solutions for risk reduction and climate resilience.
    • Nine founding members: India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand.

Bio- Shields

      • Bio- Shields are the Natural Barriers to Disasters.
      • There are indirect and direct linkages between ecosystems and disasters.
      • Ecosystem-based approaches can be effective tools in reducing disaster and climate risks.
      • These are one of the few approaches to reduce all three components of the risk equation:
        • Buffering and mitigating hazard impacts
        • Reducing vulnerability by providing ecosystem services
        • Reducing exposure when natural infrastructure is established in highly exposed areas.

      News: West Bengal launched a project to plant 5 crore mangrove trees in Sundarbans as bio- shields in response to cyclone Amphan.

Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar

      • In the field of Disaster Management.
      • Only Indians are eligible.
      • given by Ministry of Home Affairs.


      • Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai called IFLOWS -Mumbai.
      • To control urban flooding.
      • Developed by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

Workplace Readiness Indicator

      • Online assessment tool about their workplace.
      • Developed by IISc.
      • It will help plan and establish pandemic-specific policies, procedures, and necessary management practices.