National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
India is one of the hazard-prone countries and as a result of these hazards, the overall development of India suffers to a great extent. There is loss of millions of lives and damage to financial, agricultural and infrastructural aspects of the country. There was grave need for disaster management in India.
For the disaster management in India, the National Disaster Management Authority was formally constituted on 27th September 2006 headed by Prime Minister as its chairperson and 9 other members, one of whom is vice chairman. It is India’s apex Disaster Management Statuary Authority in compliance with the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
Primary purpose of National Disaster Management Authority is to synchronize response to natural and man made disasters and capacity building in disaster resiliency and crisis response. It also lays down the programs, policies and guidelines for Disaster Management for effective and timely response to the disasters.
Vision of the NDMA:
With the employment of holistic, proactive, making the best use of technology and sustainable development approach, the vision of the NDMA is to build a disaster free and safe India which comprise of all the stakeholders and will ultimately result in prevention, preparedness and mitigation to the maximum extent possible.
Historical Background of the National Disaster Management Authority:
Since the Disaster Management is a concept of national priority, the Government of India established a High Powered Committee in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001. The committee made recommendations regarding the preparation of the Disaster Management plans and suggesting mitigation strategies. For the very first time in the 10th five year plan document, there was a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. Reviewing of Disaster Management funding arrangements was done in 12th Finance Commission. The Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act on 23rd December 2005 which led to the creation of National Disaster Management Authority.
Functions of the NDMA:
The functions of National Disaster Management Authority are stated as follows-
- It approves the National Disaster Plan.
- It lays down the policies related to the Disaster Management.
- It approves plans prepared by the Central Government keeping in mind the National Plans.
- It lays down the guidelines for the State Authorities regarding State Plan.
- It provides support to the countries which are affected by major disasters as determined by the Central Government.
- It also helps in coordinating enforcement and implementation of Disaster Management policy and plan.
- For the purpose of mitigation, it also recommends provision of funds.
Institutional Framework for the Disaster Management in India:
Institutional and legal framework at the national, state, and district levels has been provided by the Disaster Management Act 2005.
1) National Level Institutions:
Below mentioned are the National Level Institutions.
- National Executive Committee: Ex- officio chairperson of the National Executive Committee is the Union Home Secretary. The committee is constituted to assist the National Authority in the performance of its functions. It’s responsibility is to monitor the implementation of National Policy, to prepare a National Plan, etc.
- National Institute of Disaster Management: The National Institute of Disaster Management’s mandate is to improve Disaster Management capabilities and to develop human resources.
- National Disaster Response Force: It is the specialized force for disaster response and it works under the supervision and control of the National Disaster Management Authority.
2) State Level Institutions:
Below mentioned are the State Level Institutions.
A) State Disaster Management Authority–
It lays down the policies and plans for Disaster Management in the State. It is headed by the Chief Minister of the particular State. It looks after the coordination and the implementation of the State Plan.
B) State Executive Committee– State’s Chief Secretary is the chairperson of State Executive Committee. It is responsible for coordinating and monitoring the execution of National Policy, National Plan and State Plan as mentioned in the Disaster Management Act.
3) District Level Institutions:
There is District Disaster Management Authority in every district of a State. It is constituted by Section 25 of the District Management Act. District Magistrate or District Collector or Deputy Commissioner can be the chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority. It is responsible for responding to the disaster at the district level and it also has the power to arrange for relief measures in any area of the district.
Achievements of the Disaster Planning:
- During Cyclone Fani, from the loss of over 10,000 lives in 1999 during Super Cyclone in Odisha to a mortality of 16 in 2019, mortality rate has reduced to a considerable extent.
- During Cyclone Hudhud in 2014, Andhra Pradesh showed an excellent evacuation strategy for millions.
- National Disaster Management Authority provides guidelines regarding natural and man made disasters.
- It also organizes awareness campaigns related to intensive earthquake and extreme weather events.
- Guidelines on hospital safety and school safety has been released by the National Disaster Management Authority from time to time.
Challenges Faced by the National Disaster Management Authority:
- During Uttarakhand flooding in 2013, National Disaster Management Authority was unable to inform people about the landslides and flash floods on time.
- During Kerala floods of 2018 and Chennai floods of 2015, preparedness for the disaster situation was not done by the National Disaster Management Authority.
- There is lack of sufficient training of NDRF personnel.
- NDRF personnel also faces the lack equipment and facilities to tackle the crisis situation properly.
Disasters are inevitable. They can be man made or natural which ultimately results in severe destruction and disruption in daily life of the people. We all must thrive to survive the current and the forthcoming disasters. We cannot control the nature but at least we can be vigilance and watchful. Community, NGOs, CSOs and the media all should participate in Disaster Management.