Technical Reports

Sustainable Agriculture

  Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanized and industrialized States in India and only 22 percent of its income comes from the agriculture and allied sectors and the share has shown a declining trend over the years. The sector, which grew at 15.28 percent during 2006-07 declined to -4.46 percent during 2007-08 due to the crop damages caused by natural calamities. However, till date 40 percent of the State population is dependent on this sector for livelihood. Hence the growth in agriculture is important not only to ensure food security but also for reducing poverty.

In addition to the frequent and recurrent hydro-meteorological events such as droughts, extreme rainfall events and cyclones impacting agriculture in the State, the growth of the sector is constrained by a number of other factors such as reduced availability of water and declining cropped area, which has declined from 33 percent of available land area in 2000-01 to 31 percent of total land area in 2010-11. Further, small land holdings, deterioration in soil health due to depletion of topsoil, the decline in organic content, decrease in cropping intensity and the shortage of labour besides reluctance to work in the farms, and poor adoption of crop management practices etc. are adding to the already existing pressures on agriculture.

Climate change may exacerbate the impacts and thus limit agricultural production. Notwithstanding the challenges in the agriculture sector, animal husbandry, including the fisheries sector, which together account for a quarter of total agriculture and allied activities GSDP, provides opportunities for livelihood diversification in this sector. Any impact on agriculture and allied sectors will exert the cascading effect on secondary and tertiary sectors. At present, though, the climate change initiatives has been taken at the agriculture sectors to assess the climate vulnerabilities and to frame suitable adaptation strategies by various Governement Departments and research institutes , there is a need to bring all the climate change related responses under the one instituational frame work linked with knowledge resources of the State .

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Water Resources

Tamil Nadu constitutes 4 percent of India's land area and is inhabited by 6 percent of India's population, but has only 2.5 percent of India's water resources. More than 95 percent of the surface water and 80 percent of the groundwater have already been put into use. Major uses of water include human/animal consumption, irrigation and industrial use. The demand for water in Tamil Nadu is increasing at a fast rate both due to increasing population and also due to larger per capita needs to be triggered by economic growth. The per capita availability of water resources, however, is just 900 cubic meters when compared to the national average of 2,200 cubic meters. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water in the State using 75 percent of the State’s water resources. Demands from other sectors such as domestic and industries have been growing significantly.

The State is heavily dependent on monsoon rains. The annual average rainfall is around 930 mm (47 percent during the north east monsoon, 35 percent during the south west monsoon, 14 percent in the summer and 4 percent in the winter). Actual rainfall for the year 2010-11 is 1165.10 mm, out of which 48 percent is through the north east monsoon, 32 percent is through the south west monsoon and the remaining 20 percent is through summer and winter rainfall. Since the State is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe droughts.

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Forests and Biodiversity

Tamil Nadu is the Southern most State of the country and covers and area of 1,30,060, which is 3.96 % of the Geographical area of the country. The State Tamil Nadu has a spectrum of nine major forest types ranging from wet evergreen forest to moist deciduous, dry deciduous, sholas, grass lands and scrub forest. The Western Ghats, the longest hill range in the State is one of the 25 global hotspots of bio-diversity and one of the three mega centers of endemism in India.

The Forest Cover in the State is 26, 281 which is 20.21% of the State’s geographical area (ISFR 2017). In terms of forest canopy density classes, the State has 3,672 under very dense forest, 10,979 under moderately dense forest and 11,630 under open forest. Recorded forest area of the State is 22,877 which is 17.59% of the State’s geographical area. Reserved, Protected and Unclassified forest are 88.70%, 7.79 % and 3.51% respectively of the recorded forest area. A net increase of 73 in the forest cover of the State compared to the 2015 assessment report can be attributed to plantations and conservation efforts within recorded area.

Tamil Nadu has been pioneer in conservation of wildlife and protected area management. Overall 30.92 % (7073 sq km) of the State’s forest area is under protected area against the norm of 25%. In all 5 National parks, 15 Wildlife sanctuaries, 15 bird sanctuaries, 2 conservation reserves and 4 Tiger Reserves have been established in the State. The State is having unique distinction of having 3 Biosphere Reserves known for rich and unique biodiversity. Four Elephant Reserves are located within the landscape of Tamil Nadu.

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Coastal Area Management

The Coastal Zone can physically and geographically be described as a corridor where the land and adjacent ocean meet. Functionally, it is the area of interaction between land and sea where production, consumption, recreation and exchange processes of climate change takes place. Ecologically, the coastal zone is an area of dynamic biological, hydraulic, geological and chemical activities that support various human activities. This zone has been exploited by mankind quite intensively leading to its degradation, and the main drivers of degradation being population pressure, waste water disposal, destruction of mangroves, Increasing urbanization, solid waste disposal, coastal constructions, natural disasters, operation of Ports, coastal erosion, atmospheric pollution, aquaculture, tourism, ingress of seawater, coastal mining, power plant operations, sea level rise and coastal highways.

The Tamil Nadu coast is 1076 km long along the Bay of Bengal. The continental shelf extends to about 41000 The exclusive economic zone covers an area of 0.19 million into the sea. The coastal part of the State covers an area of approximately 4456 The coast is along the eastern side of the State across 12 districts, the State capital Chennai and the union territory of Puducherry lie along the coast line, having high population density, which ranges from as low as 320 people per to more than 3000 people per The other districts in Tamil Nadu have population density varying between 300 to 800 persons per The coastal region of the State falls into the following agro-climatic zones - North Eastern Zone, Cauvery Delta Zone and Southern Zone. In terms of land use, the State’s coastal zone is divided into 59 categories.

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Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Solar Mission

The State has seen a substantial growth in its population from 193 lakh in 1901 to 721 lakhs in 2011.This growth in population coupled with rapid urbanization and industrialization of the State has also resulted in a fairly steep demand for electricity and energy in the State. In more recent times, the State’s electricity sector has seen a tremendous growth. The Naphtha based gas station of 10 MW capacity was commissioned at Narimanam during 1991-92. Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) simultaneously ventured into wind generation and 120 units with a total capacity of 19.355 MW was commissioned in the period 1986-93. In 1992, power sector was thrown open for private participation and the first independent power project was established by GMR Vasavi at Basin Bridge, Chennai. Today TNEB has grown into a giant organization having an installed capacity of 10364 MW of conventional power with 7791 MW of Renewable energy power as on 31 st March 2012.

Of the total electricity generation installed capacity, the installed generation capacity of large Hydro accounted to 2223 MW, while thermal generation (State sector) accounts to a total installed capacity of 2970 and share of CGS, 2956 MW. The Renewable energy sector accounts close to 40 percent of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Grid Capacity, while accounting to over 36 percent of the total installed electricity generation capacity. In terms of actual energy generation, the total electricity generated as on 31.03.2012 in the State was 77,819 Million Units, which includes, 49,877 Million units of purchased electricity which is both the central share of generation units located in Tamil Nadu as well as generation units located outside the State.

Tamil Nadu has a fairly high per capita consumption of electricity, with 2011- 12 figures indicating it to be 1065 kWh, as compared to the national average of 734 kWh and the highest in South India. As on 31.03.2012, Tamil Nadu had a total of 2,31,79,576 consumers of electricity, of which the domestic sector comprised of a total of 1,54,38,725 consumers. The Commercial segment accounted for 29,80,814 consumers, while the total number of industrial consumers in Tamil Nadu was 5,53,024.

Tamil Nadu is considered as a State which has 100 percent rural electrification and as per the Census 2011, 93 percent of the total households in Tamil Nadu have access to electricity. As per the Tamil Nadu Electricity board, most of the rural areas have electricity supply ranging from 18 to 20 hrs every day, with power outages from 4 to a maximum of 6 hours a day. Further, even agricultural pump sets have access to electricity for 9 hours a day.

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Sustainable Habitat

The National Mission for Climate Change identifies provision of sustainable habitat as one of the eight missions to ensure food and shelter to the population without resource depletion, in such a way that no waste is generated and to sustain life indefinitely. Within the scope of the National Mission for Sustainable Habitat, mitigation measures would encompass promotion of energy efficiency in the residential and commercial sector, capture of greenhouse gases as part of water, waste water and solid waste management, exploitation of mitigation potential in the area of urban transport and reorienting urban planning. Adaptation measures would include water efficient techniques, such as reducing leakages in the supply system, wastewater recycling, rainwater harvesting, designing of urban storm water management systems and urban planning measures, etc.

Tamil Nadu ranks first on share of urban population among large States in the country and third on absolute urban population. As per Census 2011, Tamil Nadu, with an urban population of 34.90 million, has 48.45 percent of its population living in urban areas. Tamil Nadu's population has grown by 15.6 percent between 2001 and 2011, the sixth lowest rate for that period amongst populous States (States whose population exceeded 20 million in 2011). According to the 2011 Census data, the population of Tamil Nadu State stood at 7.21 crore registering an increase of 97 lakh in the period from 2001 to 2011. The decadal growth during 2001-2011 was 15.6 percent as against 11.7 percent for 1991-2001. Assuming that the natural growth rate remained constant, the present increase in growth rate may be explained by the increasing net migration into the State.

Tamil Nadu has been attracting immigrants due to high industrial development and growth experienced in the State. It can be estimated that about 40-50 lakh people migrated into Tamil Nadu in last decade and this trend is likely to continue.Tamil Nadu State Action Plan for Climate Change The total number of households in India as per 2011 Census is 24,66,92,687 and Tamil Nadu has 1,84,93,003, household which is 7.5 percent of the total households in India. Construction plays a very important role in its economy contributing on an average 6.5 percent of the GDP, Commercial and residential sectors continue to be major market for the construction industry. The sectors consume a lot of energy throughout the life cycle of buildings thus becoming a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Nine key sub-sectors have been identified for action under sustainable habitat are Housing, Drinking Water, Urban Development, Health and Sanitation, Waste Management, Transport, Energy, Pollution and Greening of Urban.

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Knowledge Management

The Tamil Nadu Government recognizes the importance of knowledge for managing its resources. In this aspect, it has already created various platforms to monitor and document various climate variability and climate change related issues and the new innovations that are being implemented as remedial steps to stop the degradation of the natural resources as well as environment due to human influences. Climate is another key driver that influences the sustainability of the natural resources and also the livelihoods that depend on the same.

In Tamil Nadu livelihood of about 70 percent of the population that reside inland and in the coastal areas are vulnerable to the observed changes in climate which is likely to exacerbate with projected changes in the future. The State and its resources are susceptible to the projected increase in temperature, varying intensities of rainfall, droughts, cyclones, storm surges, and the global sea level rise. For informed decision making in such a situation is imperative, and it is therefore necessary to establish a Climate Services Information System (CSIS), a knowledge portal that supports the development of strategies for adapting to the consequences of changing climate and ensure secure human being of its population and hence ensure food security, economic security and environmental sustainability.

The Tamil Nadu State Mission on Strategic Knowledge aims to build a greater understanding of the climate change processes, its implications on various sectors, and vulnerabilities associated with the same to enable sustainable adaptation to climate change and mitigation of drivers of climate change (greenhouse gases emitted from anthropogenic sources). Key facets of Vision TN 2023 include Tamil Nadu’s enhanced economic dynamism, best in human development indicators, a well-developed infrastructure that provides universal access to basic services, an investment climate that compares with the best in Asia and the evolution into India’s foremost knowledge and innovation hub. This thrust on innovation has to happen across all economic activities in the State including services, manufacturing, agriculture, administration, and financing.

In order to effectively implement the actions suggested in the State Action Plan on Climate Change, the State has identified the following strategies

  • Create an enabling institutional framework for developing and disseminating strategic knowledge on climate change.
  • Develop a scientific basis for a deeper understanding of climate change issues
  • Support Research and Development of innovations
  • Undertake Demonstration, Field implementation & Extension; Ground truth verification & Field Demo for choosing adaptation options
  • Support regular monitoring of critical ecological parameters and urban landscape
  • Mainstream traditional knowledge
  • Undertake capacity building initiatives to integrate steps to manage climate sensitive natural resources and mitigate climate change drivers
  • Creation of Monitoring and Evaluation tools of various initiatives of climate sensitive
  • Implement CSIS through a knowledge portal
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