The government’s capital expenditure budget for irrigation and flood control has shrunk 7.7 per cent on-year this fiscal year.
As several parts of India face the fury of the highest rainfall in close to 25 years, the budget of states’ governments to prepare to fight floods has been cut in the current financial year 2019-20 from the last year, the latest RBI data shows. Life has come to a standstill in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where the flood situation has worsened in the last one week and it has been classified as a severe flood situation. On the other hand, the government’s capital expenditure budget for irrigation and flood control has shrunk 7.7 per cent on-year this fiscal year.
The government’s budget for capital expenditure on irrigation and flood control grew 33.1 per cent on-year in the previous year. However, the RBI data compares Budget Estimates for the current financial year with the Revised Estimates for the last financial year. Considering the heavy floods, revised estimates for this year too may shoot up later.
The state governments have a major role to play in controlling floods. At present, the necessity of sufficient capital expenditure in this direction can be gauged by looking at the severity of the ongoing flood situation. The government in Maharashtra has reportedly suffered a primary loss of about Rs 12,000 crores and at least 674 people have lost their lives in the state due to heavy rains and floods. Even in Patna, the situation of flood is so terrible that the Central Water Commission (CWC) has issued an advisory online today.
The CWC has explained that a severe flood situation occurs when the river’s water level is equal to or greater than the forecasting site’s danger level but below the forecasting site’s highest flood level. However, going by the above definition, many parts of India are hit by a severe flood situation.
— Central Water Commission Official Flood Forecast (@CWCOfficial_FF) October 1, 2019
The state governments play a major role before, during and after the flood. River basin management, and making resilient structures for flood mitigation; flood preparedness strategies; flood preparedness planning; and making an action plan for flood preparedness are major aspects to tackle floods, according to the National Institute of Disaster Management. To take care of the above mentioned steps, the state government is largely responsible and thus reducing the budgeted expenditure on irrigation and flood control may act as a roadblock in early preparation to fight with calamities like floods.