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National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)

Context:

The Central Government recently approved the release of Rs 200 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund as advance assistance to Himachal Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)
  2. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)

Definition and Purpose:

  • National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) is established under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • Managed by the Central Government, it serves to provide financial resources for emergency response, relief, and rehabilitation in the wake of threatening disaster situations or disasters.
Funding and Management:
  • The NDRF is placed in the “Public Account” of the Government of India (GOI), categorized as “reserve funds not bearing interest.”
  • It is intended to supplement the funds available in State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) when a severe disaster occurs, and the state’s resources are inadequate.
Eligibility Criteria:
  • NDRF provides financial assistance for natural calamities such as cyclones, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloud burst, pest attack, cold wave, and frost.
  • These calamities must be of severe nature as determined by the Government of India (GoI), requiring expenditures beyond what a state’s SDRF can cover.
Claiming Assistance:
  • States submit a memorandum detailing sector-wise damage and funding requirements to the Centre.
  • The Centre assesses the damage and decides whether to grant additional funds from NDRF.
  • NDRF funds are for immediate relief, not compensation for property or crop loss. They cover emergency response, relief, and rehabilitation efforts.
Decision Authority:
  • The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) takes decisions regarding the utilization of funds from the NDRF.
Sources of Financing:
  • NDRF is financed through a cess (levy) on specific items subject to excise and customs duty.
  • The cess amount is approved annually through the Finance Bill.
  • If NDRF resources are insufficient, additional funds are allocated from the general budgetary resources.
Significance:
  • NDRF plays a critical role in enabling prompt and effective response to disasters, ensuring that states have access to financial resources beyond their SDRF capacities.
  • It exemplifies the cooperative federalism approach where the Central Government supports states during times of severe crises.

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.

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