The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has formulated a Disaster Management Plan to prepare all Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and communities for potential disasters, considering India’s vulnerability to both natural and human-made disasters due to its unique geographical, climatic, and socio-economic conditions.
The objective is to establish disaster resilience at the grassroots level among the Panchayats and align the disaster management efforts in rural areas with those of the National Disaster Management Authority.
Reasoning behind the Disaster Management Plan at the panchayat level:
- Institutional proximity and capacity: PRIs are in close proximity to the people and possess the capacity to involve them in preventive and protective activities, thereby mitigating the impact of disasters.
- Ensure Participatory Planning Process: The plan ensures a participatory planning process for disaster management through the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), enabling the identification of vulnerable groups, assessment of their vulnerability, and implementation of response measures such as housing reconstruction and crop protection.
- Social mobilization for traditional wisdom: PRIs can act as catalysts in mobilizing the local communities and leveraging their traditional knowledge to complement modern practices in disaster mitigation.
- Integration of all players: PRIs can play a leadership role in integrating various players, including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), engaged in grassroots developmental activities.
The Disaster Management Plan of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (DMP-MoPR) aims to foster a culture of disaster resilience at the grassroots level and includes the following components:
- Compliance with the Disaster Management Act 2005, National Disaster Management Policy 2009, and guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority.
- Institutional arrangements for disaster management.
- Hazard risk, vulnerability, and capacity analysis.
- Coherence of disaster risk management with resilient development and climate change actions.
- Disaster-specific preventive and mitigation measures, along with a responsibility framework.
- Mainstreaming community-based disaster management plans for villages and Panchayats.
The comprehensive and convergent actions of the DMP-MoPR, which envision, plan, and implement community-based disaster management plans, have the potential to bring about significant positive changes in disaster management in our country.