India always had a supporting stand for helping the climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, by making commitments to cut down 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030. But all these goals need to sync with the rural development and the economic /employment growth of India – as there are many who still lives in rural areas with minimal or no wages. The implementation of the MGNREGA scheme, while understanding the climate mitigation and adaptation i.e. involving the climate risk assessment is one of the primary policies discussed for this.
The involvement with the ICRG, IPE global has helped develop some case studies for the climate risk assessment for developing infrastructures which are feasible and easily communicable with the local authorities. All these approaches are tapping into data focused methods and using GIS tools. The case study in Fatehpur (Gaya) in the Northern part of India has been able to implement compatible planning of MNERGA assets, climate proofing/ resilient engineering design especially in the horticulture, forestry, fisheries sector. Identifying different indicators for climate vulnerability assessment have helped in achieving this, which finally helped in choosing the infrastructures e.g. contour bunds, earthen burding, etc. Climate apps and communication tools like games in the communities have helped further adapt these new infrastructures.
One more interesting takeaway was from the approach of urban participation in the rural development e.g. some projects in Satara which helped rejuvenation of the wells by inclusive development (details). There are multiple approaches for achieving a climate and economy inclusive approach as researched by IIED and IISc. They focus on steps to absorb, adapt, and transform i.e. providing wages (which are climate shock adaptation), infrastructures (which are risk assessed investments), focus on institutional strengthening and help skill development to the households. Public grants, loans, equity, risk finance are major investment channels for this. One interesting research by IISc helped in allocating area data to the MGNREGA employment data helping develop the average area per work and estimate the Carbon sequestration possible. This has helped recommendations to MGNREGA like complementing forest cover and tree cover activities with the crop plantations.
Concluding, I think this data intensive approach to support employment development activities with climate risk assessed infrastructure would be a good way to go for India.