- On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.
- NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters.
Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:
- Lay down policies on disaster management
- Approve the National Plan
- Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
- Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
- Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation.
- Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
- Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.
- Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.
Major Challenges in disaster management
- The State lacks a clear idea about its specific hazards and vulnerability, deflating the government’s ability to undertake targeted measures for their prevention or mitigation.
- State Disaster Management Authority’s lack of proper technical assistance and other back-up measures, severely denting its effectiveness.
- Disaster management authorities are yet to turn fully functional, while the State admits to lacking a proper framework for the implementation of the National Disaster Management Act, National Disaster Management Policy and the State Disaster Management Policy.
- the lack of a proper system to inspect constructions and to ensure their compliance with disaster mitigation guidelines, building codes and other development control regimes appear glaring.
- Local bodies, the last mile agency for taking disaster management measures to the grass roots, hardly have the capacity to react to disasters.
- Absence of proper guidelines for preparation of disaster management plans at various levels and workable disaster management plans poses a major challenge.
- Standard Operating Procedures are virtually non-existent and authorities concerned are unfamiliar with it.
- The State suffers from inadequate coordination among various government departments and other stakeholders.
- There was no institutional framework for disaster management earlier, but after the setting up of NDMA, a mechanism has been developed not only for disaster management, but also for disaster risk reduction.
- India got appreciation due to NDMA’s work at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting on Disaster management held in Kyrgyzstan last month. India had extended help to earthquake-hit Nepal in 2014 and also India had sent NDRF team to Japan for help.
- It’s time to further strengthen the legal and institutional systems in place for disaster management.
CAG on disaster management
- NDMA has neither had information and control over the progress of disaster management work in the states, nor could it successfully implement various projects it had initiated for disaster preparedness and mitigation.