Written by 08:10 World

India’s Next Government Will Face Serious Climate Challenges

India, the world’s most populous country, is also among the most vulnerable to climate hazards. That’s not only because of the heat and floods that global warming has exacerbated, but also because so many of the country’s 1.4 billion people are vulnerable to begin with. Most people are poor, by global standards, and they have no safety net.

Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist prime minister who claimed victory Tuesday for a third five-year term, will face major challenges fueled by climate change.

The six-week process of voting took place amid a scorching heat wave in several parts of the country. In the northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, at least 33 people, including poll workers, died of complications from the heat last week, according to government authorities cited by Reuters.

Rohit Magotra, deputy director of Integrated Research and Action for Development, called on national election officials to reschedule elections in the future to avoid such calamities. He pointed out that workers from every political party suffer in the heat, and so do voters, who often have to line up under the sun.

“I definitely see the momentum building up, and elections are unlikely to be scheduled in peak summer in future,” said Mr. Magotra, whose organization has advocated heat solutions in Indian cities.

The Election Commission this year did set up a task force to monitor weather conditions, but only after voting got underway amid abnormally high temperatures. It also sent election workers a list of heat precautions prepared by the National Disaster Management Agency. However, according to a report published in Scroll, an Indian news site, political-party campaigners were not told to do anything differently because of the heat.

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Last modified: 5 June 2024
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