India Meteorological Department : Functions and Responsibilities

India Meteorological Department : Functions and Responsibilities

India Meteorological Department : Functions and Responsibilities


(This article is based on the combined editorial summary of Indian Express’, ‘The Hindu’, ‘Jansatta’ and ‘PIB’. It also includes suggestions from the Yojna IAS team. This article comes under General Studies of UPSC Civil Services Examination belongs to ‘Indian Geography’ section. This article is related to ‘India Meteorological Department : Functions and Responsibilities’ under ‘Daily Current Affairs ‘.)


Why in the News ?



  • Recently the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has released data related to an updated seasonal outlook for the summer season in India (April to June) 2024.
  • India Meteorological Department has released the forecast for New Delhi weather related rainfall and temperature for April 2024.An updated seasonal outlook related data has also been released. 
  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) is completing 150 years of service in the history of scientific progress of our country. The beginning of meteorology in India can be traced back to ancient times.
  • The history of meteorology in India is rich and spans many centuries. Meteorology, the study of the Earth’s atmosphere and its phenomena, has played an important role in understanding weather patterns, predicting natural disasters, and supporting various sectors of the economy.
  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) with the mandate of providing public meteorological services will complete 150 years of its establishment on 15 January 2025.


Historical development of Meteorological Services in India :





  • There is evidence of serious discussions about the processes of cloud formation and rainfall and the seasonal cycles caused by the Earth’s movement around the Sun in the early philosophical literature and Upanishads of India dating back to 3000 BC.
  • Varahamihira’s classical work, Brihatsamhita, written around 500 BCE. It was written in 1755, providing clear evidence that deep knowledge of atmospheric processes existed even at that time.
  • Kautilya’s Arthashastra Contains records of scientific measurement of rainfall and its application to the country’s revenue and relief operations.
  • Kalidasa’s epic ‘Meghdoot’, written around the seventh century, also mentions the date of onset of monsoon in central India and also reveals the path of monsoon clouds.
  • The British East India Company established observatories in various parts of India during the 17th and 18th centuries. These observatories focused on astronomical observations, including meteorological phenomena.
  • British administrators and scientists conducted climatic studies to understand seasonal patterns in different regions of India. The Bombay Observatory, established in 1826, played an important role in early weather research.
  • Some of the oldest meteorological observatories in the world still exist in India.
  • The British East India Company established several stations to study the weather and climate of India, in Calcutta in 1785 and in Madras (now Chennai) in 1796.
  • The Asiatic Society of Bengal, founded in Calcutta in 1784 and Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1804, promoted scientific study in meteorology in India.
  • Captain Harry Piddington in Calcutta published 40 papers relating to tropical storms in the Journal of the Asiatic Society during 1835–1855 and coined the term “cyclone”, meaning serpentine coil.
  • In 1842 he published his monumental work on the “Laws of the Storms”.
  • In the first half of the 19th century, many observatories started functioning under the provincial governments in India.



India Meteorological Department (IMD) :


  • It was established in the year 1875. It is the National Meteorological Service of the country and is the principal government agency for all matters relating to meteorology and allied subjects.
  • All meteorological functions in the country were brought under one central authority, the India Meteorological Department.
  • HF Blanford was appointed Weather Reporter to the Government of India.
  • The first Director General of the India Meteorological Department in India was Sir John Eliot who was appointed to the Calcutta headquarters in May 1889.
  • The headquarters of IMD was later shifted to Shimla, then to Poona (now Pune) and finally to New Delhi.
  • Therefore, at present the headquarters of India Meteorological Department is located in New Delhi.
  • IMD has expanded its network through a number of observatories across India to monitor and record weather conditions.
  • The Indian Meteorological Department works under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • The Director General of the Meteorological Department is the head of this organization.
  • At present there are 6 regional meteorological centers in India.
  • Each Regional Meteorological Center is headed by a Deputy Director General, with headquarters at Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Calcutta, Nagpur and Guwahati.
  • The India Meteorological Department focuses on providing weather forecasts and warnings to support agriculture, shipping and other sectors in India.
  • It has made significant efforts to understand the study of tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal.
  • IMD has developed its capabilities for cyclone tracking and weather forecasting in India, which has now improved disaster-management preparedness in India.
  • After India’s independence, the IMD has also modernized itself by incorporating advanced technologies, weather radar, satellite imagery and computer models into its meteorological practices.
  • IMD established Regional Meteorological Centers to increase the coverage of weather monitoring and forecasting services in different states of India.
  • IMD expanded its services to provide specific agriculture, aviation and disaster management forecasts.
  • In India, the role of IMD has now expanded beyond weather forecasting to climate monitoring and research.
  • India became a member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1948, which also facilitates international cooperation in research and data exchange in the Meteorological Department.

Functions and responsibilities of India Meteorological Department (IMD) :





  • Issuance of weather forecast : IMD is responsible for issuing weather forecasts for short-term and extended periods for various regions of India. These forecasts are important for planning various activities including agriculture, external events and disaster response.
  • To provide specialized services for agricultural meteorology :  IMD provides specialized services to agriculture, including providing weather related advisories to Indian farmers. These advisories assist in crop planning, irrigation and pest management in India.
  • Providing climate information : IMD provides information related to climate and its associated temperature patterns and rainfall in India. It contributes to climate studies and assessments, including the impacts of climate change.
  • Cyclone Tracking and Warning : The IMD monitors and tracks tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. It issues warnings and advisories to the public, coastal authorities and disaster management agencies to minimize the impact of cyclones.
  • Providing information related to aviation services : The IMD supports aviation operations by providing weather forecasts for airports across the country. This ensures safe take-off and landing during adverse weather conditions.
  • To provide information on meteorological research and development activities :  IMD is engaged in meteorological research and development activities. It constantly updates its technologies and methodology to increase the accuracy of weather forecasts and climate predictions.
  • Providing earthquake monitoring information : IMD monitors seismic activities and provides earthquake related information. Earthquake monitoring forms a part of overall disaster management efforts in India.


Major initiatives undertaken by India Meteorological Department : 


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) operates a network of observatories to collect meteorological data, including surface weather stations, upper air observatories and coastal observatories. Therefore, the major initiatives run by the Meteorological Department in India are as follows –


  1. National Monsoon Mission (NMM)
  2. Weather app
  3. Doppler weather radar
  4. Meghdoot Agro
  5. Damini Bijli
  6. Enthusiasm


  • India developed its remote sensing capabilities and launched satellites for weather monitoring, including the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) and the Indian Meteorological Satellite Program (Kalpana, INSAT-3DR, etc.).
  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) has launched the National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) on its 150th anniversary.  Which are as follows –


  • The goal of NFCS is to strengthen the production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate monitoring and prediction services.
  • The NFCS is based on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) launched by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  • NFCS will reduce climate risks to key sectors, namely disaster risk reduction, agriculture and food security, water resources, public health and energy.


Conclusion / Way forward :




  • The history of the Meteorological Department in India shows a gradual process of evolution from the early observations and observatories of the British period to the establishment of the modern and technologically advanced Indian Meteorological Department.
  • At present, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) plays an important role in providing weather forecasts, monitoring climate trends and contributing to international efforts in meteorological research.
  • The continuous efforts by the India Meteorological Department in areas such as weather forecasting, climate monitoring and disaster management in India contribute significantly to the safety and welfare of the people.
  • There is no requirement that polling stations give priority to cooling beyond the seating areas of officials.
  • It has been suggested by many prominent politicians in India that the general elections in India should be held in the pleasant weather of February-March or October-November, but this discussion cools down as soon as the voting is over. There is a strong need to implement this now.
  • Due to India’s size and organizational challenges, the election process has seen innovation and measures such as multi-stage voting processes and EVMs have been adopted. With temperature records being broken every year and the links between heat waves, climate and health becoming ever more apparent, now is the time for the election process to consider creative ways to address this crisis.


Source – The Hindu and PIB.


Practice Questions for Preliminary Exam :


Q. 1. Consider the following statements about the Indian Meteorological Department.

  1. Kalidasa has mentioned the date of onset of monsoon in ‘Meghdoot’.
  2. In January 2024, India Meteorological Department completed 100 years of its establishment.
  3. It was established on January 15, 1924.
  4. India became a member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1948.

Select the correct answer with the help of the code given below.

A. Only 1, 3 and 4 

B. Only 1 and 2.

C. Only 1, 2 and 3.

D. Only 1 and 4.


Answer – D


Practice Questions for Main Exam :


Q. 1. Explaining the major functions of ‘Department of Meteorology. Discuss what is the contribution of India Meteorological Department to global security and economic development through its role as a regional and global center for weather and climate forecasting.? (UPSC CSE – 2019) ( Word Limit – 250 words )


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