Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - II (General Studies – I) - 26 August 2019

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam

UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-II: General Studies - I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Q. Some parts of Indian subcontinent are highly vulnerable to flood. What are the various factors responsible for occurrence of floods in India and what is its effect on life and economy? In the light of NDMA guidelines describe the mechanism for the preparedness to reduce the risk of flood events. (250 Words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News:
  • Introduction:
  • Factors responsible for flood in India
  • Effects of Flood on life and economy
  • NDMA guidelines for the preparedness mechanism.
  • Conclusion

Why in News:

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has approved the "Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP)" for Flood Management Works in entire country and River Management Activities and works related to Border Areas for the period 2017-18 to 2019.


A study Science Direct journal states that 1.5 °C increase in global mean temperature from the pre-industrial level will lead to an increase in human losses from flooding by 70–80% with a higher risk in South Asia. Heavy monsoon rains over the past week have left many dead in Nepal and Bangladesh, and submerged vast areas of north-east India.

Factors responsible for flood in India

  • There are several factors for floods and they differ from region to region. The causes may vary from a rural area to an urban area. Some of the major causes of floods in India are given below.

Heavy rainfall

  • It is the primary cause for floods in India. Especially, rainfall in a short span of time is of much concern as they are leading to flash floods.

Siltation of the Rivers

  • Heavy siltation of the river bed reduces the water carrying capacity of the rivers and streams leading to flooding. For instance, as a result of siltation, the Brahmaputra has been expanding – ranging from 2 km to 14 km – leading to frequent flooding in the North East region.

Blockage in the Drains

  • Blocked drains are the primary cause for the floods in urban areas, especially in metros. For instance, failure of the drainage system is believed to be one of the primary causes behind the Chennai floods in December 2015.


  • They are the major reason behind floods in hilly areas of the north and northeast. For instance, in June 2013, landslides caused a blockage of flow of streams and rivers in Uttarakhand and caused major floods.

River overflow

  • Rivers can overflow their banks to cause a flood. This can happen when there are more water upstream than usual and as it flows downstream to the adjacent low-lying areas there is a burst and water gets into the land.

Strong winds in coastal areas

  • Sea water can be carried by massive winds and hurricanes onto the dry coastal lands and cause flooding. This is made worse if the winds carry rains with themselves.

Dam breaking

  • Excess water can also be intentionally released from the dam to prevent it from breaking and that can also cause floods example current flood in Kerala.

Ice and snow melts

  • Sudden melting of ice due to temperature rise, results in massive movement of water into places that are usually dry causes snowmelt flood.
  • Natural hazards like cyclones and earthquakes and encroachments of river banks and water bodies also cause flooding.

Effects of Flood on life and economy

Negative impact on life and economy:

  • Loss of life and livelihood.
  • Food inflation rises.
  • Industries, Agriculture and Livestock get negatively impacted.
  • According to Central Water Commission Floods result in loss of about 1% of the GDP.

Positive impact of flood on life and economy:

  • Improves fertility: Flood waters carry silt and high concentrations of nutrients in the form of silt. 
  • Wetlands:Flood waters help to renew natural wetlands where the excess water along with the nutrient loaded silt helps to recharge the wetlands,
  • Replenish groundwater: Flood waters should help increase the groundwater level, thereby making it all the more accessible to others.
  • Renews fish stock:The nutrient-rich flood waters often support various microorganisms which make it effective for replenishing fish stock.

NDMA guidelines for the preparedness mechanism:

 Structural measures:

  • Structural measures are physical in nature and aim to prevent flood waters from reaching potential damage centres, whereas nonstructural measures strive to keep the people away from flood waters.
  • Till now the main thrust of the flood protection programme in India is based on structural measures which include:

Embankments/Banks, Flood Walls, Flood Levees, Dams, Reservoirs and other Water Storages Lakes:

The circumstances, in which embankments/ flood walls/flood levees will be constructed for prevention of flooding, can only be decided after carrying out detailed hydrological and morphological studies regarding their favourable and adverse effects. State governments/SDMAs need to evolve date lines and priorities for carrying out studies in their

Desilting/Dredging of Rivers

Ministries, departments, commission and the state governments/ SDMAs need to study the problem of rise in riverbeds in a scientific manner and explore the techno economic viability of desilting/dredging as a remedial measure to mitigate the effects of rise in the riverbeds.

  • Drainage Improvement The state governments/SDMAs need to review the adequacy of existing drainage channels in areas suffering from drainage congestion and if the capacities of existing systems are inadequate, it needs to be improved

Diversion of Flood Water

The flood spill channel skirting Srinagar city and the supplementary drain in Delhi are examples of diverting excess water to prevent flooding of the urbanized areas. The state governments/SDMAs need to study the feasibility of implementing the schemes for diverting excess water to existing or new channels by bye-passing them to prevent flooding

  • Catchment Area: The state governments/SDMAs need, therefore, take up appropriate watershed management measures including afforestation, check dams, detention basins etc. in the catchment of rivers to prevent soil erosion, enhance water conservation and minimise water and sediment runoff.
  • Anti-erosion Works: State governments/SDMAs/ DDMAs, need to plan anti erosion works.
  • Sea Walls/Coastal Protection Works: Sea walls/coastal protection works need to be planned and executed by the respective coastal states/port authorities, keeping in view the complexity of sea behaviour and other environmental aspects.

Non-Structural Measures:

Flood Plain Zoning

It means dividing the entire flood area into different zones and to restrict the occupancy of the different zones of the flood plain to uses which will suffer little or no damage during floods. Extensive and often unplanned use of flood plains by man disregarding the basic fact that it is part and parcel of the river leads to damage. This is one of the main factors responsible for the flood damage reported from different parts of the country in spite of substantial investments in the flood sector.

Flood Proofing

It means any structural or non-structural measures intended to prevent damage from flooding to a building. The state governments/SDMAs need to provide adequate number of raised platforms/flood shelters at suitable locations in the flood plains with basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation, medical treatment, cooking, tents, lantern etc. for the people to take shelter during floods.

  • Flood Forecasting and Warning Flood forecasting enables us to be forewarned as to when the river is going to use its flood plain, to what extent and for how long.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management

State governments/SDMAs with the cooperation of the CWC and other states will implement the IWRM system for all the river basins and sub-basins.

Medical Preparedness

Floods as a natural disaster have a high potential of precipitating the incidences of mass casualties. Risk of drowning and physical trauma along with the threat of diseases associated with contamination of water and the creation of mosquito breeding sites.

  • Creating Awareness The state governments/SDMAs should need to take steps to create awareness to the type of illnesses and other health problems that can result in the aftermath of floods.
  • Medical Stores

Medical kits  like ventilators, oxygen, dressing materials, tetanus toxoid, antibiotics, vaccines, anti-snake venom and anti-diarrhoea drugs is the most commonly needed medical resources will be prepared for the management of flood casualties.

Patient Evacuation Plan

  • State governments/SDMAs need to make available emergency medical equipment and drugs for life saving.

Disaster Management Plans

  • Disaster Management Plans need to be prepared by all hospitals.


The countries of Indian subcontinents must bring collective effort with Individual pledge to reduce the effect of flood in terms of losses of life and economy so that the objective of Sendai framework can be achieved collaboratively.

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