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Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • The Home Ministry on 24th March 2020, issued a set of guidelines to be followed by the States to contain COVID-19.
  • It asked all “enforcement authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people, but not to that of essential goods”.

What the Health Ministry said?

  • The Health Ministry said all commercial and private establishments shall be closed, except for shops, including ration shops dealing in food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, milk, meat, fish and fodder.”
  • “However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimise the movement of individuals outside their homes,” it said.
  • The Ministry said “delivery of all essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce” would be allowed.
  • “Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including manufacturing and distribution units such as dispensaries, chemist and medical equipment shops, laboratories, clinics, nursing homes and ambulances will continue to remain functional,” the Ministry said.
  • “All persons who have arrived in India after February 15, 2020, and all such persons who have been directed by health care personnel to remain under strict home/institutional quarantine for a period as decided by local health authorities, failing which they will be liable to legal action under Section 188 of the IPC,” the Ministry said.

Other Actions

  • The National Disaster Management Authority issued an order asking the States to act against any person violating the containment measures under provisions of Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine.
  • Offices of the Government of India, its autonomous subordinate offices and public corporations shall remain closed.
  • But the offices of defence, Central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation and transmission units, India Post, the National Informatics Centre and early warning agencies would be exempted.
  • In case of funerals, a congregation of not more than 20 persons will be permitted.

National Disaster Management Authority

  • 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.
  • 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’.
  • NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India on 23 December 2005.
  • Hence, NDMA is a Statutory body.
  • 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.

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 under Section 8 enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).
  • All State Governments are mandated under Section 14 of 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 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.

National Executive Committee (NEC)

  • 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”.

June 2024