NEW DELHI: On the occasion of 147th Foundation Day of India Meteorological Department today, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated and dedicated to the nation four Doppler Weather Radars at Leh, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai respectively for better operational analysis and more accurate forecasts.
With today’s inauguration, the number of such radars in the country has reached up to 33. The Minister said that augmentation of modern observing platforms such as Automatic weather stations, Doppler Weather Radars and Meteorological Satellites will help in further improving weather and climate services.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that India has taken a lead in Asian Continent to provide Weather and Climate services to South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle East countries.
Addressing a galaxy of administrators, scientists and scholars on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the severe weather forecasting being provided to many countries since 2016 under PM Narendra Modi has come a long way and proved handy to countries like Nepal and Bangladesh in fighting severe climatic disasters. Referring to ISRO’s SAARC Satellite, the Minister said, in coming days, IMD will reorient its weather and climate services in the most modern way to cater to global needs.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Ministry of Earth Sciences will deploy and use Drone based Observation Technology in a big way for strengthening the localised forecasting, besides adopting the High Resolution Models. He emphasised that the language used in forecast and information would be made easy to understand and serve as a clear basis for taking action by every citizen.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government is committed to make India Meteorological Department a World Class Organization for better delivery of services enabling a common man to take weather-wise and climate-smart decisions. He said, every common is impacted by 5 vital sectors of Agriculture, Health, Water, Energy and Disaster management being effectively catered to by IMD.
R.K. Mathur, Lieutenant Governor, UT of Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP, Ladakh, Dr.M. Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences,Chairman, ISRO Dr. K,Sivan, Dr M. Mohapatra, DG, IMD,Dr S D Attri, Scientist G and Chairman, Organizing Committee, Ex. DGMs and other retired officials of IMD and Directors of MoES Institutes, invited dignitaries, officers, scientists took part in the ceremony.
Referring to about 20-40% improvement in accuracy of severe weather warning by IMD in recent five years as compared to previous five years, Dr Jitendra Singh said, forecast of high temperature and heat wave condition well in advance resulted in significant reduction in the number of deaths due to heat waves in subsequent years. He called upon all the agencies for zero heat related mortality in the coming year.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, IMD has taken up upgradation and digitisation of several of its services and the results are evident in the form of near-accurate forecasts in short time range, advance prediction of cyclones and their tracks, expansion of sector-specific weather services to agriculture,water, health, power, energy, mining, disaster risk reduction and many other areas.
The Minister extended his greetings to all the officers and staff members of India Meteorological Department and the Ministry of Earth Sciences and entire meteorological fraternity for the Foundation Day and Makar Sankranti.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the scientific temper and outlook of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved a boon for upgrading the country’s weather forecasting and climate services, along with providing latest computing capabilities and infrastructure. He pointed out that in November, 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, headed by Prime Minister approved Rs 2,135 crore for the continuation of Atmospheric and Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems and Services (ACROSS).
The Minister said, under this scheme, eight sub-schemes will be implemented from 2021 to 2026 and the IMD will majorly contribute in five sub-schemes – upgradation of forecasting systems, weather and climate services, atmospheric observations network, study of monsoon and clouds, and the commissioning of polarimetric doppler weather radars in the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the new platform like crowd searching for collection of observation through public, thus opening a new chapter in citizen science, which will act as a bridge between science and society. He said, the web GIS services launched by IMD today will be very helpful for the public, disaster managers and stakeholders to initiate timely response action to mitigate the disasters further and underlined that the impact based forecast issued by IMD is helping to minimise the loss of life and property.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the recent extreme events have reminded us of the vulnerability of our society to weather, climate and water related disasters and these have tremendously increased the expectations of the society for better weather and climate services owing to accurate forecast provided by IMD in recent past.
Underling that India’s cyclone forecast has been appreciated by national and international bodies, the Minister noted with satisfaction that IMD has prepared district-level vulnerability atlas for extreme conditions like heat-wave, cold-wave, heavy rain, cyclones and thunderstorms. “I am sure the atlas will help disaster management authorities for risk assessment based on information collected over the years”, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh congratulated all the awardees who have performed their duty with dedication and for improvement of Meteorological science and services despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He also complimented students who participated overwhelmingly in competitions on Weather and Climate organized during Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
IMD has the legacy of maintaining weather and climate records and monitoring and predicting the weather since its inception 147 years ago on 15 January, 1875 in the background of tropical cyclone hitting Calcutta in 1864, and the subsequent famines in 1866 and 1871 due to the failure of the monsoon.
During 147 years of its existence, the department has served the cause of safety and well-being of Indian population against weather related hazards and to economic development of the country. It is one of the few departments of the government whose services touch almost every aspect of life and across all sectors of economy.