From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Disaster Management
Mains level : Not Much
- 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.