Disaster response in India
Recent Cyclone Tauktae and cyclone Yaas in western and Eastern coast of India respectively, shows India enhance vulnerability to natural disaster in an era of climate change.
To reduce disaster risk and ‘built back better’ India chalk out detail plan for disaster response.
Disaster Management in India
Disaster management in India has evolved from an activity-based reactive setup to a proactive institutionalized structure and from a relief-based approach to a ‘multi-dimensional pro-active holistic approach for reducing risk’.
Disaster Management Act, 2005
- This acted as a paradigm shift, from the erstwhile relief-centric response to a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness-driven approach to minimise loss of life, livelihood and property.
- The National Disaster Management Act, 2005 lays down institutional, legal, financial and coordination mechanisms at the National, State, District and Local levels.
- The Disaster Management Act of 2005 (DMA 2005) is an act passed by the government of India for the ‘efficient management of disasters and other matters connected to it.
Features of the Disaster Management Act 2005
The following governing bodies are established by DMA 2005.
Institutional Framework at National Level
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister of India as the chairperson. The main responsibility of the NDMA is to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management to ensure an effective response in the event of any disaster.
- National Executive Committee: The DMA empowers the Central Government to create a (NEC) to assist the National Disaster Management Authority. The NEC consists of Secretary level officers of the government in the home, health, power, financeand agricultural ministries. The NEC is responsible for the preparation of the National Disaster Management Plan for the whole country and to ensure that it is “reviewed and updated annually”
- National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): The National Disaster Response Force is tasked with responding to a threatening disaster or a situation similar to it. The NDRF is led by a Director-General appointed by the Central Government. .
- National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM): The nodal agency responsible for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management.
Institutional Framework at State Level:
- State Disaster Management Authority: The (SDMA) is responsible for drawing the disaster plan for its respective state. It consists of the Chief Minister who is the chairperson. The SDMA is mandated under section 28 to ensure that all the departments of the State prepare disaster management plans as prescribed by the National and State Authorities.
- State Executive Committee
Institutional Framework at District Level
- District Disaster Management Authority: The Chairperson of (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
- Financial Arrangements under NDM Act, 2005
- National Disaster Response Fund: It is a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation.
- State Disaster Response Fund : The SDRF is used only for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims of disasters.
- National Disaster Mitigation Fund: (NDMF) has not been set up. The Government feels that at present there are sufficient schemes to take care of mitigation measures in different projects and the need for creation of separate NDMF has not been felt.
- National Disaster Response Reserve The 13th Finance commission recommended for creation of a National Disaster Response reserve (NDRR) with a corpus of Rs.250 crore to meet the immediate requirement of relief material/equipment after a disaster. The purpose of creating National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR) is to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of the disaster which are beyond the coping capacity of the States.
- The Finance Commission is required to review the arrangements regarding financing of Disaster Management funds as envisaged in the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009
NDMA came up with a ‘National Policy on Disaster Management’ (NPDM) in 2009. It is prepared with the vision “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”.
Objectives of the National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009
- Promoting a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education.
- Encouraging mitigation measures based on technology, traditional wisdom and environmental sustainability.
- Mainstreaming disaster management into the developmental planning process.
- Establishing institutional and techno-legal frameworks to create an enabling regulatory environment and a compliance regime.
- Ensuring efficient mechanism for identification, assessment and monitoring of disaster risks.
- Developing contemporary forecasting and early warning systems backed by responsive and fail-safe communication with information technology support.
- Ensuring efficient response and relief with a caring approach towards the needs of the vulnerable sections of the society.
- Undertaking reconstruction as an opportunity to build disaster resilient structures and habitat for ensuring safer living.
- Promoting a productive and proactive partnership with the media for disaster management.
- It places an enabling environment for all and addresses the concerns of all the sections of the society including differently abled persons, women, children and other disadvantaged groups.
- It also aims to bring in transparency and accountability in all aspects of disaster management through involvement of community, community based organizations, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), local bodies and civil society.
The National Disaster Management Plan, 2016
- The Vision of the Plan is to “Make India disaster resilient, achieve substantial disaster risk reduction, and significantly decrease the losses of life, livelihoods, and assets – economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental – by maximizing the ability to cope with disasters at all levels of administration as well as among communities.”
- It has been aligned broadly with the goals and priorities set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at COP-21.
Major highlights of the Plan
For each hazard, the approach used in this national plan incorporates the four priorities enunciated in the Sendai Framework into the planning framework for Disaster Risk Reduction under the five Thematic Areas for Actions:
- Understanding Risk
- Inter-Agency Coordination
- Investing in DRR – Structural Measures
- Investing in DRR – Non-Structural Measures
- Capacity Development
Over the period India effective built up both physical and institutional infrastructure to deal with any kind of disaster effectively. Disaster response is continuous process hence it is necessary to upgrade it with evolving technology and methodology of disaster management.