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About Notified Disasters

Context:

The ongoing spell of extreme heat in many parts of the country has once again reopened discussions on the inclusion of heatwaves as one of the notified disasters under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005.

Relevance:

GS III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Notified Disasters
  2. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
  3. Disaster Management Act, 2005

About Notified Disasters:

  • Definition: The Disaster Management Act, 2005, in India defines a disaster as a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity, or grave occurrence” arising from natural or man-made causes that result in substantial loss of life, destruction of property, or damage to the environment.
  • Categories: The Act identifies 12 categories of notified disasters:
    • Cyclone
    • Drought
    • Earthquake
    • Fire
    • Flood
    • Tsunami
    • Hailstorm
    • Landslide
    • Avalanche
    • Cloudburst
    • Pest attack
    • Frost and cold waves
  • Relief Assistance:
    • These disasters qualify for relief assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
    • SDRF: Primarily used for immediate relief to victims of notified disasters.
    • NDRF: Supplements the SDRF in severe disaster cases where funds are insufficient.
  • Heatwaves:
    • Currently, heatwaves are not included as a notified disaster under the Act, despite being a significant concern in India, especially in certain regions.
    • The Finance Commission has not yet expanded the list of notified disasters to include heatwaves.
  • State Provisions:
    • States are allowed to use up to 10% of their SDRF allocation for local disasters, which can include heatwaves. Some states have already taken advantage of this provision.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • National Disaster Management Authority, abbreviated as NDMA, is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
  • NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India in 2005. Hence, NDMA is a Statutory body.
  • The vision of NDMA is “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology - driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”.
  • NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.
  • It is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members. Since 2014, there have been four other members.
  • The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.
  • The phrase disaster management is to be understood to mean ‘a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures, which are necessary or expedient for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster, mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or severity of its consequences, capacity building, preparedness to deal with any disaster, prompt response, assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster, evacuation, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction’.
Disaster Management Act, 2005
  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, (23 December 2005) received the assent of The President of India on 9 January 2006.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).
  • All State Governments are mandated under the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
  • The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
  • 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.
  • Definition of a “disaster” in the DM Act states that a disaster means a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes.
  • The objective of the Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
  • The Act contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as the creation of funds for emergency response, National Disaster Response Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels.
  • The Act also devotes several sections various civil and criminal liabilities resulting from violation of provisions of the act.

-Source: Indian Express


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