National Disaster Management Act, 2005 defines events that cause substantial less of life, prosperity and environment. It read, “Disaster means catastrophe, mishap,calamity or grave occurrence in any area,arising from nature or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which result in substantial loss of life, of human suffering or damage to, and destruction of property,or damage to, or degradation of environment, and is of such nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of affected areas.”
About 60 percent of landmass in India is prone to earthquakes of various intensities, over – 40 million hectares is prone to floods, about 8 percent of the total area is prone to chemicaldisaster and 68 percent of area is susceptible to drought. Disaster management Act, 2005 defines Disaster Management as, a continuous cycle and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for- (i) Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster; (ii) Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences; (iii) Capacity-building; (iv) Preparedness to deal with any disaster; (v) Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster; (vi) Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster; (vii) Evacuation, rescue and relief; (viii) Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Disaster Management Amendment Bill, 2006 aims at broadening the meaning of Disaster in Disaster Management Act. Main Provisions of National Disaster Management Act, 2005: The Act provides for three tier mechanism for Disaster Management that includes National Disaster Management Authority, State Disaster Management Authority and District Disaster Management Authority. National Disaster Management Authority: Its chairperson is the Prime Minister. Not more than nine other members can be there. Vice Chairpersons is appointed from amongst members by the Chairperson. Executive Committee is chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry entrusted with the work of the Disaster Management. State Disaster Management Authority: Its Chairperson is the Chief Minister of the concerned State. Other members not exceeding eight are there. And in addition, Chairperson of the State Executive Committee (who is Chief Secretary) is also included. Vice Chairperson is appointed by Chairpersons from amongst members. Chairperson of the State Executive Committee is the Chief Executive Officer. State Executive Committee is chaired by the State Chief Secretary. National Disaster Response Fund: To be constituted by the Central Government for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation. National Disaster Management Fund: To be constituted by the Central Government for the Projects exclusively of mitigation. Under Constitutional Position, Union List includes: Atomic Energy, Railways etc. State List includes – Public Order, Public Health, Agriculture, Water etc. Concurrent List includes – Environment, Social Security, prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases, etc. Through State Legislative Enactments some function has been given to local government also, more so after 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. Union Government: Supportive role is there in matters of research and development, finances, etc. There is Cabined Committee on Management Act, 2005 provides for the National Disaster Management Authority under Prime Minister’s already functional. A committee of Union government looks after issue of financial support from National Calamity contingency Fund. There is Central Relief Fund. Biological and Chemical Emergencies are coordinated by Cabinet committee on security. National Crisis Management by Cabinet Committee on Security. National Crisis Management committee (NCMC) is headed by the Cabinet Secretary. Union Ministries looking after disasters are : Ministry of Home Affairs – natural and man-made Disasters; Ministry of Agriculture – Drought, Ministry of Civil Aviation – Air Accidents; Ministry of Railways – Railway Accidents; Ministry of Environment – Chemical Disaster; Ministry of Health – Biological Disasters; Department of Atomic Energy – Nuclear Accidents; etc. Crisis Management Group (CMG) is chaired by Central Relief Commissioner in the Ministry of Home Affairs. State Government: Primary responsibility of relief operations is of the States. National Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the state Disaster Management Authority under the Chief Minister. At top political level, there is, normally Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities under the Chief Minister. There are Crisis Management Committees chaired by the Chief Secretaries. Relief commissioners – functionaries of State Revenue Department are used. They look after issues of Natural Disasters. They work under Crisis Management committee headed by the Chief Secretary. State Revenue Secretaries also have some responsibilities. Overall responsibility at the District Level, rests with the District Collector/ District magistrate. District Collector / District Magistrates National Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the district Disaster Management Authority under his/her chairpersonships (co-chairpersons is elected member of local authority). Overall co-ordination between various departments at district level is achieved. Under General Financial Rules/Revenue Codes, there are powers to draw money. If there are armed forces units available locally, their assistance can be requested. Coordination with civil society is achieved . Institutions: 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 Governments. The Central Government lays down policies and guidelines and provides technical, financial and logistic support while the district administration carries out most of the operations in collaboration with central and state level agencies. In the Central Government there are existing institutions and mechanisms for disaster management while new dedicated institutions have been created under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities (CCMNC) oversees all aspects relating to the management of natural calamities including assessment of the situation and identification of measures and programmes considered necessary to reduce its impact, monitor and suggest long term measures for prevention of such calamities, formulate and recommend programmes for public awareness for building up society’s resilience to them. The Cabinet Committee on Security. (CCS) deals with the matters relating to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the Cabinet Secretary oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response. The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has created new institutions at the national, state, district and local levels. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister is the apex body responsible for laying down policies, Projects and guidelines for disaster management and for coordinating their enforcement and implementation throughout the country. The policies and guidelines will assist the Central Ministries, State Governments and district administration to formulate their respective Projects and programmes. NDMA has the power to approve the National Projects and the Projects of the respective Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The general superintendence, direction and control of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the NDMA.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is mandated to assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions and further ensure compliance of the directions issued by the Central Government.The NEC comprises of the Union Home Secretary as the Chairperson,and the Secretaries to the GOI in the Ministries/ Departments of Agriculture, Atomic Energy, Defence, Drinking Water Supply, Environment and Forests, Finance (Expenditure), Health, Power, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Space, Telecommunications, Urban Development, Water Resources and the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as members.
Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs, Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Mines, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Secretary, NDMA are special invitees to the meetings of the NEC. The National Executive Committee is responsible to prepare the National Plan and coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy and the guidelines issued by NDMA. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Central Government has the overall responsibility for disaster management in the country. For a few specific types of disasters the concerned Ministries have the nodal responsibilities for management of the disasters, as under: Drought Epidemics & Disasters Ministry of Agriculture Biological Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Ministry of Environment Chemical Disasters & Forests Ministry of Atomic Energy Nuclear Disasters Air Accidents Ministry of Civil Aviation Railway Accidents Ministry of Railways Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Ministry of Environment & Forests Ministry of Atomic Energy Ministry of Civil Aviation Ministry of Railways The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has the mandate for human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA. NIDM is required to design, develop and implement training programmes, undertake research, formulate and implement a comprehensive human resource development plan, provide assistance in national policy formulation, assist other research and training institutes, state governments and other organizations for successfully discharging their responsibilities, develop educational materials for dissemination and promote awareness among stakeholders in addition to undertake any other function as assigned to it by the Central Government. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is the specialized force for disaster response which works under the overall supervision and control of the NDMA. At the State Level the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), headed by the Chief Minister, lays down policies and Projects for disaster management in the State. It is also responsible to coordinate the implementation of the State Plan, recommend provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures and review the developmental Projects of the different departments of the State to ensure integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures. The State Disaster Management Department (DMD) which is mostly positioned in the Revenue and relief Department is the nodal authority. In the district level the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is headed by the District Magistrate, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson. DDMA is the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management at district level. It will, inter alia prepare the District Disaster Management Plan and monitor the implementation of the National and State Policies and the National, State and the District Projects. DDMA will also ensure that the guidelines for prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response measures laid down by the NDMA and the SDMA are followed by all departments of the State Government at the district level and the local authorities in the district. The Local Authorities both the rural local self governing institutions (Panchayati Raj Institutions) and urban local bodies(Municipalities, Cantonment Boards and Town Planning Authorities) These bodies will ensure capacity building of their officers and employees for managing disasters, carry out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected areas and will prepare DM Projects in consonance with guidelines of the NDMA, SDMAs and DDMAs.
(a) The National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Government in November 2009. This comprehensive policy document lays down policies on every aspect of holistic management of disasters in the country. Salient Features of India’s National Policy on Disaster Management: India’s National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 22nd October, 2009 with the aim to minimize the losses to lives, livelihoods and property, caused by natural or manmade disasters with a vision to build a safe & Disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, integrated, Multi-disaster oriented and technology driven strategy. With this national Policy in place in India, a holistic and integrated approach will be evolved towards disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships at various levels. The themes underpinning the policy include Community based Disaster Management, Capacity development in all spheres, Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices and Cooperation with agencies at National and International levels with multi-sectoral synergy. (b) The Policy is also intended to promote a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education. It encourages mitigation measures based on environmental sustainability. It seeks to mainstream disaster management into the developmental planning process and provides for Institutional and Financial arrangements at national, State, and District-levels for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response as it ensures adequate budgeting for disaster mitigation activities in all Ministries and Departments. (c) State Policies on Disaster Management : The States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala have formulated State Disaster Management Policies. Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Uttranchal, Meghalaya, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Orissa and West Bengal have prepared draft policies. (d) State Relief Codes/ DM Codes: Many States have manuals and codes for management of drought, floods etc. Now many states are in the process of changing their State Relief codes into Disaster Management Manuals. A Matter of Concern: Yokhama Declaration exposed that economic loss was increasing due to various disasters. The intergovernmental Panel on that worldwide the frequency and magnitude of all types of natural disasters are increasing. Increasing tendency of droughts in some areas more vulnerability of forest fires. Disasters affect: one, as they derail development process. Two, affects resource availability for future development. Mere narrow approach temporary relief and involves more cost. There is need to link Disaster management and Development,relief and reconstruction. Some disasters – say flood-have much post disaster complication. Man made inhumane disasters increase. Planned Development finance for Disaster Management Projects. Then there is targeted revenue difficult elimination issue. Over-exploitation of natural resources is leading towards environmental degradation. That may lead to nation increases much but public safety common sense and awareness in community lacks. In many instance lack of preparedness is converting hazards into disasters. Flaws in intelligence are causing some disasters, say, terrorism, strikes, social tensions, etc. Public Health infrastructure is inadequate but health hazards increase. Women and Children are usually most affected during disasters. More attention is needed to be given to this issue. Even camp managing Committee lack sufficient number of women, to take care of women, in relief and rehabilitation Apprehensions of misuse of science and technological advancements exist. Drought affects rural areas more and water supply infrastructure remains weak in rural areas. As normal procedures are difficult to follow, due to urgency corruption problems are there. Ineffectiveness in water management Policies creates problems in drought management and flood relief. Study and Research in Disaster Management is still deficient. In fact, there is need to introduce the Disaster management and Public Administration. Traditionally, even in legal framework, meaning of disaster has been taken narrowly. Enforcement of Public Safety Regulations is not effective Low income and Poverty creates problems in matters of preparedness. Professional skills for field machinery in matters of disaster management still lack. Still there are deficiencies in taking up the issue of Geographical Information System (GlS) as a plan scheme. Community participation in vulnerability analysis lacks. Media use for bringing mass awareness is not paid sufficient attention. Digital dissemination of information by Disaster Management Authorities is still inadequate. Much gap exists between disaster research and community capacity building. There are instances of policy makers lacking the Disaster Management experience. Potential of ex-servicemen available in between country is not used well. International or bilateral cooperation in Disaster management is not up to the mark. What can be done? Life cycle of crisis management can be broadly divided in three phases – pre crisis, during crisis and post- crisis. Sustainable Development preparedness can reduce hazard. There is need to link disaster management and development Projects. Planned improvement in legal framework in needed. Bringing community consciousness will help. Short term and long terms planning need integration. More effective international cooperation and use of it is need for disaster warning system. As, normally, community response is the first in case of disaster, there is need for community capacity building. Policy of Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) at national, state and district level should be effectively implemented. Subject of Disaster management is not mentioned specifically, in any of the three lists of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution. National Commission of the Constitution (NCRWC) suggested its inclusion in Concurrent List. Best Practices guidelines should be laid down. Meaning of Disaster in National Disaster Management Act, 2005 is narrow it should be broadened. Capacity building in local government is needed. In Japan local governments have a role to play in such matters. 2nd ARC recommends, in larger cities (say with population, exceeding 2.5 million) the Mayor, assisted by the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and the Police Commissioner should be directly responsible for Crisis management. Initiatives – Calamity relief Fund (CRF) exists, Various related rules exist, say, Hazardous Waste (management and Handling Rules) 1989, The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and control) Rules, 2000 etc. National Institute of Disaster Management is set up at Delhi., Coastal Zone Regulations, Building Codes, Fire Safety Rules etc. some States have gone for State Disaster Management Acts, say : Act, 2003, Bihar Disaster management Act, 2004, Uttrakhand Disaster Mitigation, Management and Prevention Act, 2005; Uttar Pradesh Disaster Management Act, 2005 etc. Uttarakhand has set up a separate department of Disaster Management. Vulnerability Atlas of India was brought in 1998. Seismic Zone of India has been standardized. Of late, Five Year Planning had been giving high priority to such issues. National Building Code 3 was brought in 2005. India Disaster Resources network Disaster Management A web enabled centralized data base. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are there which guide the operations in case of crisis. Civil Defence Act was brought in 1968 and Civil Defence Regulations, 1968 exist. SAARC Disaster Management Centre it was set up in October 2006. It is in the premises of National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.