Research Papers

COVID-19 and social protection: Impact in the agriculture sector
Lower transaction costs, minimal leakages, and immediate delivery make a strong case for direct cash transfers, says study. Amita Bhaduri posted 2 weeks 5 days ago

COVID-19 induced significant economic and social disruptions in India. Rural households, including smallholders, were affected by loss in migrant income, livelihood and farm and non-farm income.

Access to credit increased farmers' expenditures on farm-related activities. (Image:
Water footprint of food and cooking fuel
Rice and wheat have large water footprints in rural India Amita Bhaduri posted 3 weeks 4 days ago

Water is a basic resource for food and fuelwood production. In general, people in rural areas of India consume carbohydrate-rich staples with small amounts of animal foods. They mostly depend upon fuelwood for cooking.

Madhya Pradesh has the largest blue water footprint for food (334 m3/cap/year) and the blue water footprint from wheat contributes 87%. (Image: Pixabay)
The threatened traditional tank systems of Madurai
While traditional tanks systems in Madurai continue to fulfill the drinking water and irrigation needs of the rural population, rapid urbanisation is gradually destroying them! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 month ago

The tank cascade systems of Madurai

Arid and semi-arid regions of Southern-Indian peninsula are known to experience frequent droughts and the watersheds in these regions are characterised by hot climate, scanty water availability and erratic rainfall.

The dying tanks of Madurai (Image Source: Seetha Goplalakrishnan)
Study detects high levels of arsenic in cooked rice in Bihar
Need to remove arsenic from the food chain and not just drinking water in endemic areas Amita Bhaduri posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Extensive evidence of elevated arsenic in the food chain, mainly rice, wheat and vegetables exists.

Median excess lifetime cancer risk of 2 per 10,000 from food arsenic exposure in Bihar. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Managing groundwater demand: the way forward
Substituting groundwater irrigation by canal irrigation will not help in maintaining the current levels of food production in India. Managing groundwater demand will, finds a study. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Groundwater reserves are depleting at rapid rates in India, which is one of the world’s largest consumer of groundwater with it  providing 60 percent of the irrigation needs of the country.

Groundwater, a valuable resource! (Image Source: India Water Portal)
Baravas - Unique water harvesting structures of Maharashtra
Baravas, the unique water harvesting structures of Maharashtra continue to stand the test of time. Urgent efforts need to be made to conserve them and learn from them! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Traditional groundwater storage structures such as cisterns, stepwells, tanks, and wells in India are well known and had cultural, religious, social, and utilitarian significance in olden times.

A barav from Limb village in Satara district, Maharashtra (Image Source: Aarti Kelkar Khambete)
Dams and distress in the Himalayas!
Hydropower projects and compensatory afforestation plantations are spelling doom for the fragile Himalayan forest ecosystems. Urgent action is the need of the hour! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Proliferation of hydropower development in the Himalayas is leading to extensive land use changes in the river valleys and threatening the diverse and fragile Himalayan ecosystems leading to deforestation, fragmentation, soil erosion and loss of forest biodiversity. These are a cause for serious concern for local communities, whose lives and livelihoods depend on these forests.

100 MW Tidong-I project, Kinnaur HP (Image Source: Manu Moudgil)
Multi-purpose cyclone shelters in India
A study finds if multi-purpose cyclone shelters within the neighbourhood are considered safe for cyclone evacuation. Amita Bhaduri posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

An ‘Extremely Severe Cyclone Fani’ made landfall during morning hours on May 3, 2019, near Puri in Odisha. The landfall location was forecast accurately much in advance by India Meteorological Department.

The Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department  looks into the repairing of cyclone and flood shelters across Odisha (Image: Odisha TV)
Bengaluru lakes, in crisis!
Urban wetlands are increasingly under threat in cities such as Bengaluru! Community participation and better planning, management and monitoring of urban spaces is the need of the hour! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

What are wetlands

Wetland is a place where water covers the soil or is near the soil surface for varying periods of time during the year. Wetlands include a wide variety of habitats ranging from lakes, marshes, swamps, estuaries, tidal flats, river flood plains, mangroves and even rice fields.

Ulsoor lake, Bengaluru (Image Source: Subhashish Panigrahi via Wikimedia Commons)
Cereals drain India dry
A study on virtual water flows in interstate trade of cereals in India shows that cereals are rapidly draining the states that have the most critical levels of groundwater. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 3 months ago

Agricultural stagnation and inefficient irrigation systems

Agriculture continues to be an important sector for the Indian economy and for food security with more than half of the workforce being employed in agricultural activities. Greater use of improved crop varieties, irrigation and fertilisers have contributed to major improvements in crop yields in India.

Cereals and millets at a bazaar in Nizampet, Hyderabad (Image Source: Aditya Madhav, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)