India has been vulnerable toarious natural disasters due to its geo-climatic conditions. About 60% of its landmass is prone to earthquakes; over 40 million hectares is prone to floods; 68% of the area is susceptible to drought and out of 7,500 km ofcoastline, close to 5,700 km is prone to cyclones. The Tsunami disaster, which struck five coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) in India in December 2004, has further highlighted the vulnerability of the coastal areas. Fire incidents, industrial accidents and other man-made disasters involving chemical, biological and radioactive materials are additional hazards. All this has underscored the need for strengthening mitigation, preparedness and response measures.
The basic responsibility for undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures in the event of a disaster, rests with the concerned State Government. The Central Government supplements the efforts of the State Governments by providing logistic and financial support in case of severe natural calamities. The logistic support includes deployment of aircrafts and boats, specialist teams of Armed Forces, Central paramilitary forces and personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF),arrangements for relief materials and essential commodities including medical stores, restoration of critical infrastructure facilities including communication network and such other assistance as may bc required by the affected States to meet the situation effectively.
Disaster Management Act
To provide effective management of disasters and matters concerned therewith, the Government of India enacted and notified the Disaster Management Act, 2005 on December 25, 2005. It provides institutional mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of the disaster management plans, ensuring measures by various wings of the Government for prevention and mitigating the effects of disaster and for undertaking a holistic, coordinated and prompt response to disaster situation.
The Act also provides for the 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 Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) under the chairmanship of District Magistrates. As per information, the States have constituted SDMAs and DDMAs and brought into force. The Act also provides for Constitution of a National Executive Committee (NEC), headed by the Home
Secretary, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). It also provides for concerned Ministries and Departments to draw up Departmentwise plans in accordance with the National
Disaster Management Plan.
Formation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
NDMA has been constituted under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister. The Authority has nine other members, one of whom has been designated as the VIce-Chairman. A draft on National plan on Disaster Management has been prepared. The guidelines on management of earthquakes, chemical and industrial disasters, Íloods, biological disasters, cyclones, medical preparedness and mass casualty management and preparation of State Disaster
Management plans have already been released.
National Disaster Response Force
The National Disaster Response Forcc (NDRF) has been constituted by upgradation/conversion of two
battalions each of Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). A decision has also been taken to create two more battalions of NDRF to be raised from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). NDMA is also facilitating the training and equipping of Force. Action has been taken to provide a separate budget for NDMA with
effect from 2010.
To ensure ready availability of funds with the States, a Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) has been constituted for each State with an allocated amount, based on the recommendations of the Finance Commission.The CRF comprises contributions by Union Government and State Government in the ratio 3 : 1. The Central share is released in two equal instalments : First in the month of June and second in December. Under this Scheme, the State Level Committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, is fully authorised to decide on all matters relating to the financing of the relief expenditure from the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) in accordance with the norms approved by the Government of India. In the event of a calamity of severe nature, in which the requirement of funds for relief operations is beyond the funds available in the State's CRF account, additional Central assistance is provided from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF), after following the laid down procedure.
National Calamities of Recent Years
During the south-west monsoon in 2008, a total of 22 states and 01 UT reported damage in varying degrees due to heavy rains / floods etc.
Damage in the Country During 2008
No. of districts affected 182 (out of total 602 in the country)
No. of villages affected 41,509
Population affected 324.66 lakh
Cropped area affected 35.56 Iakh hectares
Houses damaged 16.46 lakh
No. of human lives lost 3,405
No. of cattle perished 53,833
The concerned State Governments, as the first responders, reacted promptly to the flood situation and undertook immediate rescue and relief operations. These included evacuation and shifting of people to safer places, setting up of relief camps, providing gratuitous relief, distribution of essential commodities, provision of safe drinking water, health and hygiene measures; etc. The National Crisis Management Committee monitored the progress of relief operations, particularly in the case of large scale flooding caused by the breach of embankments of the river Kosi in Bihar. Being the nodal Ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs monitored the flood situation continuously through close inter action with India Meteorological Department (IMD), Central Water Commission (CWC), other concerned Ministries, control rooms of State and districts.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs coordinated the efforts of the Government of India by providing timely logistic support to supplement the efforts of Bihar government to meet the situation effectively. The logistic support included 37 Army columns with Engineering Task Forces, 37 medical teams, 15 helicopters, 3 relief teams of Navy 775 boats from Army and Navy, 855 NDRF personnel, over 11,000 tents and satellite phones. Union Government promptly provided foodgrains, medicines, petroleum products, shelter materials, fodder, transportations, etc. Govt. of India immediately released two instalments of Rs. 1,000 crore and Rs. 122 crore, respectively. Similar cooperations were also given to Assam and Orissa Governments. The swift and highly skilled rescue operations of NDRF saved about 1,05,000 lives in these states. In December 2005, Union Government approved the 'Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme for rebuilding the infrastructures damaged due to Tsunami and for rehabilitation of affected people covering housing, agriculture, fisheries, ports and jetties, power, water, sanitation, environment, social infrastructure, and an estimated outlay of Rs. 9,871 crore. States bave made considerable progress in rehabilitating the people by way of making available permanent houses, replacement of damaged boats nets/fishing gear, etc. repair¡ng of roads and bridges, and reclamation of agricultural and horticultural land affected by salinity.
Role of National Institute of Disaster Management
National Institute of Disaster Management (NlI)M) came into existence in October 2003. The Institute has achieved the status of a statutory organisation under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The
NIDM has been entrusted with the responsihili tv to develop training modules; undertake research and documentation in disaster management; organize training programmes; undertake and organize study courses, conferences, lectures and seminars to promote and institutionalize disaster management; and undertake and provide the publication of journals, research papers and books. The Institute has conducted 71 training programmes on different aspects of disaster management since April 1, 2008 till March 31, 2009 in collaboration with the Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) of the States. Over 2000 participants atten ded these programmes.
The Institute has conducted 71 training programmes on different aspects of disaster management since April L 2008 till March 31, 2009 in collaboration with the Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) of the States. Over 2000 participants attended these programmes. In collaboration with World Bank this Institute organized the online training programme on Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management and four specialized online programmes on Community Based Disaster Risk Management, Financial Strategies in Disaster Management, Damage and Reconstruction Needs Assessment and Safe Cities during the currentm year. Over 300 participants got bene fitted from these programmes. The Institute has also undertaken other concerned programmes.
National Civil Defence College
The first Disaster Management Training Institute of the country was founded in 1957 at Nagpur as the Central Emergency Relief Training institute (CERTI) to support Emergency Relief Organisation of Union Government. The conflicts of 1962 and 1965 brought forth the need to reorient the emergency training activities from disasters to those related to the protection of life and property, reducing damage and raising public morale during any war emergency. Hence, this Institute was renamed as National Civil Defence College in 1968. This college is one of the main centres for Disaster Management Training and a nodal centre for Radiological, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Emergency Response training. It has also been recognized as a premier training establishment in Chemical Disaster Response Training by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC)
SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) located in New Delhi a regional organisation of 8 South Asian countries. SDMC has been conducting a series of programmes on disaster management in the region.