India is vulnerable to various natural disasters on account of its geo-climatic conditions. About 60% of the landmass is susceptible to earthquakes and over 40 million hectares (8%) is prone to floods. 8,000 kms of coastline is prone to cyclones and 68% of the country’s geographical area is susceptible to drought. The 2004 Tsunami’ which struck five coastal States / UTS, has highlighted our vulnerability. Fire incidents, industrial accidents and other mandate disasters involving chemical, biological and radioactive materials are additional hazards which have under scored the need for strengthening mitigation, preparedness and response measures.
Role of Central and State Governments
The basic responsibility for undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures in the event of a disaster is that of the concerned State government. The central government supplements the efforts of the State governments by providing financial and logistic support in case of severe calamities.
Change in orientation
The government have brought about a change in the approach to disaster management. The change is from a ‘relief-centric’ approach to a holistic approach covering the entire cycle of disaster management encompassing Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Relief and Rehabilitation. The approach proceeds from the conviction that development cannot be sustainable unless disaster mitigation is built in the development process.
The government has enacted the Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005 on December 26, 2005. The Act provides for setting up of a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) under the chairmanship of the Chief Ministers and District Magistrates. The Act further provides for the constitution of the National Executive Committee NEC), the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
It also provides for the concerned Ministries and Departments to draw up department wise plans in accordance with the National Disaster Management Plan. In addition, the Act contains provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Fund and National Disaster Mitigation Fund and similar Funds at the State and District levels. The Act also provides for a specific role to local bodies including Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as urban local bodies (ULBs) in disaster management,
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
The NDMA was initially constituted on May 30, 2005 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister by an executive order. Following enactment of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 the NDMA has been constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Act on September 27, 2006 with eight members, one of whom has been designated as the Vice-Chairperson.
At the national level, the National Disaster Management Authority has the responsibility, interalia, of laying down policies on disaster management and guidelines to be followed by different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India to integrate the measures for prevention of disaster or mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects. It has also to lay down guidelines to be followed by t eh State Authorities in drawing up State plans and take such measures for the prevention of disasters or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with the threatens situation or disaster as it may consider necessary.
National Policy on Disaster Management ( NPDM)
Recognising the multi-disciplinary dimensions of the efforts required for the prevention, mitigation and management of disasters and to mainstream disaster reduction features in the overall social and economic development processes, the NPDM is being formulated to lay down the roadmap and directions for all government endeavours and delineate the role and responsibilities of different stakeholders in disaster management.
The present scheme of financing the relief expenditure and was the recommendations of the Twelfth Finance Commission (TFC), which are in operation 10m 2005-06 to 2009-10. The Commission has recommended continuation of the Schemes of Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) and National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF). The Twelfth Finance Commission has increase the allocation in Calamity Relief Fund for the period 2005 – 2010.
Calamity Relief Fund (CRF)
A Calamity Relief Fund has been constituted for each State with an allocated amount, based on the recommendations of the Twelfth Finance Commission. The Calamity Relief Fund is contributed by the Government of India and the State government in the ratio 3:1. The Central share is released in two equal instalments in June and December. The State Level committee headed by the chief secretary is fully authorized to decide on all the matters to the financing of the relief expenditure from the Calamity Relief Fund in accordance with the items and norms approved by Government of India.
National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF)
In the event of a calamity of a severe nature, in which the requirement of funds for relief operations is beyond the funds available in the State’s Calamity Relief Fund account, additional Central assistance is provided from NCCF, after following the stipulated procedure.
Items and Norms of Expenditure from CRF/NCCF
The State Governments are required to incur expenditure from CRF/NCCF as per the items and norms approved by Government of India. These norms are generally revised after the Award of successive Finance Commissions.
Consequent to the Award of Twelfth Finance Commission, an Expert Group was set up in the Ministry of Rome Affairs to comprehensively review the existing items and norms of expenditure for assistance from CRF/ NCCF and also to formulate norms for newly added calamities in the approved list of natural calamities, i.e. cloud burst, hailstorm, landslides, and pest attacks. The Expert Group consulted and sought suggestions from all the State Government / UT Administration and concerned Central Ministries / Departments. The Group has submitted its report and Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance as well as NDMA have considered it. The proposal of revision of items and norms of assistance from CRFINCCF has been forwarded to the High Level Committee (HLC) for consideration and approval. Thereafter, the revised items and norms will be notified and circulated to the States/UTs and the concerned Central Ministries / Departments / Organisations.
Disaster Risk Management Programme (DRMP)
A DRMP has been taken up in 169 districts in 17 most hazard prone States with assistance from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), European Union and a few other international agencies. The programme aims at putting in place sustainable initiatives with the involvement of local self-government institutions and communities. The programme States are being assisted to draw up State, District and block-level disaster management plans, Village level disaster management plans are being developed in conjunction with Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and disaster management teams consisting of village volunteers are being trained in preparedness and response functions such as search and rescue, first-aid, relief coordination, shelter management plans, etc. The State and District level multi-hazard resistant Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) are also being set up under this programme including provision of equipments for EOCs. Orientation training of engineers, architects and masons usadas resistant technologies has been initiated.
National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)
In the backdrop of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), a National Centre for Disaster Management was established in 1995. The Centre has been upgraded and designated as the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM). The NIDM came into existence in October 2003 and achieved the status of a statutory organisation under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The NIDM has been encrusted with the responsibility to develop training modules, undertake research and documentation in disaster management and organise training programmes; undertake and organise study courses, conferences, lectures and seminars to promote and institutionalise disaster management; undertake and provide for the publication of journals, research papers and books. NIDM has prepared a model District Disaster Management Plan and drafted a Disaster management manual for the States. NIDM has also taken up the preparation of the National Drought Management Manual.
Training Institutes in States
Disaster Management faculties are being financially supported by the Ministry in 29 State level training institutes located in 28 States. The State Training Institutes take up a focused training programme for different target groups within the State. The training institutes are being provided technical assistance by the NIDM by developing training modules and imparting training to the faculty members.
The Government have been persistently educating people about do’s and don’ts during the disasters and disaster like situations through All India Radio, Doordarshan, publicity in newspapers and sensitising children at school and college level at national, State and district levels.
Disaster management as a subject in social sciences has been introduced in the school curricula for Class VIII, IX & X through the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The State Governments have also been advised to take similar steps through their respective School Boards of Education. Several State Governments have already introduced similar curricula in school education.