Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Assistance to States during Natural Disasters: How It Works


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Disaster Management

Mains level : Not Much

Central Idea

  • In the wake of natural disasters, states often request assistance from the central government.
  • Himachal Pradesh CM recently requested for a special disaster relief package and urged the designation of the calamity as a ‘national disaster.’

Natural Disaster Mitigation in States

  • Legal Framework: The 2005 Disaster Management Act provides the legal framework for addressing disasters, whether natural or man-made.
  • Defining disaster: It defines a “disaster” as an event causing substantial loss of life, human suffering, property damage, or environmental degradation beyond the community’s coping capacity.
  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): The Act established the NDMA, headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) led by Chief Ministers. These bodies, along with district-level authorities, form an integrated disaster management setup in India.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): The Act led to the creation of the NDRF, comprising several battalions or teams responsible for on-ground relief and rescue operations in various states.

Understanding the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF)

  • Mention in the Act: The NDRF is referenced in the 2005 Disaster Management Act and plays a crucial role in providing disaster relief.
  • State Disaster Relief Funds (SDRFs): States have their own SDRFs, which are the primary funds available for responding to notified disasters. The Central Government contributes 75% to SDRFs in general states and 90% in northeastern and Himalayan states.
  • Utilization of SDRFs: SDRFs are allocated for immediate relief efforts following notified calamities, including cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunamis, and more.
  • Central Assistance: In the event of a severe calamity where state SDRF funds are insufficient, additional central assistance can be provided by the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

Who determines a Severe Calamity?

  • Procedure: States follow a specific procedure to classify a calamity as “severe.” This involves submitting a memorandum detailing sector-wise damage and fund requirements. An inter-ministerial central team assesses the damage on-site.
  • Committee Approval: Specific committees review these assessments and submit reports. A High-Level Committee must approve the immediate relief amount to be released from the NDRF.
  • Criteria: The classification of a calamity as “severe” considers factors such as intensity, magnitude, assistance needs, and more.

Additional Funds for Disaster Mitigation

  • Funds Allocation: Funds for NDRF and SDRFs, allocated for preparedness, mitigation, and reconstruction, are part of budgetary allocations.
  • Financing mechanism: The 15th Finance Commission introduced a new methodology for state-wise allocations, considering factors like past expenditure, risk exposure, hazard, and vulnerability.
  • Utilization: NDRF and SDRF funds are released in two equal instalments, typically with requirements like Utilization Certificates. However, in urgent situations, these requirements can be waived.
  • State Disaster Mitigation Fund (SDMF): This fund supports activities such as forest restoration and public awareness. It received an allocation of Rs 32,030 crore from the 15th Finance Commission.
  • National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF): The NDMF, amounting to Rs 13,693 crore, is dedicated to national disaster mitigation efforts.

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