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�NE vulnerable to climate change�

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, Nov 19 � A new directive of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MEF) report has categorised Northeastern States and three other regions � Himalayan, Coastal and Western Ghats of the country as vulnerable regions to climate change.

It termed the region as �vulnerable to water-induced disasters because of its location in the eastern Himalayan periphery, fragile geo-environmental setting and economic under-development�.

�The powerful hydrological and monsoon regime of the region, especially the Brahmaputra and the Barak (Meghna) river systems are both a resource and a source of vulnerability�, the report prepared by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) said.

Depicting scenarios for 2030 period as compared with 1970, India�s first climate change science assessment report, has predicted overall increase of rainfall besides increasing its intensity in NE but likely to decrease the number of rainy days. Similarly the region is likely to be more warmer.

As a result, there is likelihood that the region would be prone to Vector borne diseases (Malaria in particular) throughout the year from the present six months period, the report said.

Besides, its probable impact on agriculture sector could be huge, with the report, predicting a fall in rice yield between 5-10 per cent and maize to reduce by 40 percent against the country�s overall fall in rice and maize production between five to 20 per cent. India needs an average increase of about 4 per cent in agriculture production every year to ensure food at reasonable price to all the citizens.

Moreover, the average state of economic development and growth in the North East is lower than other parts of the country. The average per capita income of the region is approximately 30 per cent lower than the national average, the report added. Assam and Manipur have the lowest per capita income in the region.

�The present assessment attempts to bring together what is known as four major regions in India, namely, Himalayan region, the Northeastern region, the Western Ghats and the Coastal Region in regard to observed climate and climate change projections for the year 2030s on four key sectors such as agriculture, water, natural ecosystem, biodiversity and health�, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in his forward note of the report.

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