Invoking the Disaster Management Act, the Centre has ordered States that all liquid oxygen, including the existing stock with private plants, should be made available to the government and will be used for medical purposes only.
- The NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with Prime Minister as its Chairperson and nine other members, and one such member to be designated as Vice-Chairperson.
- The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has 11 chapters and 79 sections.
- The Act extends to the whole of India.
- The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the apex statutory body for disaster management in India.
- The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.” The main focus of this act is to provide the people who are affected with disasters, their life back and helping them.
Evolution of National Disaster Management Authority
- In recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, the Government of India set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake (2001), for making recommendations on the preparation of Disaster Management plans and suggesting effective mitigation mechanisms.
- The Tenth Five-Year Plan document also had, for the first time, a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. The Twelfth Finance Commission was also mandated to review the financial arrangements for Disaster Management.
- On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of 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.
Institutional Framework for Disaster Management in India
- The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has provided the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in India at the national, state and district levels.
- In the federal polity of India, the primary responsibility of Disaster management vests with the state government.
- The central government lays down the plans, policies and guidelines and provides technical, financial and logistical support while the district administration carries out most of the operations in collaboration with central and state level agencies.
- The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson.
- The NDMA may have no more than nine members including a Vice-Chairperson.
- The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.
- The NDMA which was initially established on 30 May 2005 by an executive order, was constituted under Section-3(1) of the Disaster Management Act, on 27 September 2006.
- The NDMA is responsible for “laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management” and to ensure “timely and effective response to disaster”. Under section 6 of the Act it is responsible for laying “down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plans”.
National Executive Committee
- The Act under Section 8 enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Authority.
- The NEC is composed of Secretary level officers of the Government of India in the Ministries of home, agriculture, atomic energy, defence, drinking water supply, environment and forests, finance (expenditure), health, power, rural development, science and technology, space, telecommunication, urban development, and water resources, with the Home secretary serving as the Chairperson, ex officio.
- The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, is an ex officio member of the NEC.
- The NEC under section of the Act 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”.
State Disaster Management Authority
- All State Governments are mandated under Section 14 of the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
- The SDMA consists of the Chief Minister of the State, who is the Chairperson, and no more than eight members appointed by the Chief Minister.
- State Executive Committee is responsible (Section 22) for drawing up the state disaster management plan, and implementing the National Plan.
- 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.
District Disaster Management Authority
- The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
- The elected representative of the area is member of the DDMA as an ex officio co-Chairperson, (Section 25).
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
- The Section 44–45 of the Act provides for constituting a National Disaster Response Force “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under a Director General to be appointed by the Central Government.
- In September 2014 Kashmir-floods NDRF along with the armed forces played a vital role in rescuing the locals and tourists, for which NDRF was awarded by the government of India.
Functions and Responsibilities of NDMA
- Approve the National Disaster Plan
- Lay down policies on disaster management
- Approve plans prepared by Ministries or Departments of the Central Government in accordance with National Plan
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by State Authorities in drawing up State Plan
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by different Ministries or Departments of Central Government for purpose of integrating measures for disaster prevention or mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects
- Coordinate enforcement and implementation of disaster management policy and plan
- Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation
- Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as determined by Central Government
- Take such other measures for prevention of disasters or mitigation or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situation or disaster as it may consider necessary
- Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of National Institute of Disaster Management
Achievements of Disaster Planning in India
- Cyclone Fani, was one of the worst cyclones to hit India in last two decades.
- Odisha’s preparedness, efficient early warning system, timely action, and well-planned large-scale evacuation strategies helped 1.2 million people move safely into nearly 4,000 cyclone shelters, thereby saving the lives of vulnerable population in the sensitive coastal region.
- The United Nations office for Disaster Risk Deduction (UNISDR) and other organizations have hailed government and volunteer efforts that have ensured the levels of destruction to keep minimum.
- Similarly, Andhra Pradesh demonstrated an equally excellent evacuation strategy for millions during cyclone Hudhud in 2014.
- There has been significant reduction in mortality rate from the loss of over 10000 lives in 1999 during Super Cyclone in Odisha to a mortality of 16 in 2019 during cyclone Fani.
- NDMA runs intensive earthquake and extreme weather events awareness campaigns and provides guidelines regarding natural and man-made disasters.
- NDMA has released Guidelines on School Safety, Hospital Safety and Minimum Standards for Shelter, Food, Water, Sanitation and Medical Cover in Relief Camps. The Authority worked closely with the States in mitigating the impact of Heat Wave and the number of casualties came down drastically.
- NDMA conducts mock exercises for better crisis management during a disaster situation.