Indian Forum for Water Adroit

Drought and famine in India, 1870‐2016

Pankaj Dey

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  • Institute : Indian Institute of Science
  • Programming language : MATLAB, R
Drought and famine in India, 1870‐2016
« on: February 04, 2019, 10:10:24 AM »
India witnessed some of the most famous famines during the late 19th and early 20th century. These famines caused millions of deaths primarily due to widespread crop failure. However, the role of agricultural drought in these famines remains unrecognized. Using station based observations and simulations from a hydrological model, we reconstructed agricultural droughts and established a linkage between famines and droughts over India. We find that a majority of famines were caused by large‐scale and severe soil moisture droughts that hampered the food production. However, one famine was completely resulted due to the failure of policy during the British Era. Expansion of irrigation, better public distribution system, rural employment, and transportation reduced the impact of drought on the lives of people after the independence.