From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PM CARES
Mains level : Paper 3- Disaster Management Act, National Plan
The Disaster Management Act (DMA) 2005 has been invoked by the government to deal with the pandemic. However, National Plan as provided under the Act to deal with Covid-19 is nowhere to be found. Also, the creations of PM CARES violated the provision of the DMA-2005. These two issues are discussed here.
Provisions of DMA 2005
- The Act, along with other things provides the constitution of a National Authority, a National Executive committee.
- It also provides for the constitution of an advisory committee of experts in the field to make recommendations and to prepare a national plan.
- This plan must provide for measures for prevention or mitigation.
- The Act lays down “guidelines for minimum standards of relief, including ex gratia assistance.
Provision of various Funds under DMA 2005
- It enables the creation of a National Disaster Response Fund in which the central government must make due contribution.
- It also requires “any grants that may be made by any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management” to be credited into the same Fund.
- It also provides for a National Disaster Mitigation Fund, exclusively for mitigation.
- The Act also provides for State and local-level plans and for creating State Disaster Response Fund among others.
Provision of disaster management plan
- After the direction by the SC, the government came out with a National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), 2016.
- This Plan dealt with various kinds of disasters; it was amended in 2019.
- Bu this National Plan not in place now.
- Without it, the fight against COVID-19 is ad hoc and has resulted in thousands of government orders.
- These orders are confusing those who are to enforce them as well as the public.
NDRF and PM CARES issue
- On April 3, 2020, the government of India agreed to contribute its share to the NDRF.
- But a public charitable trust under the name of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was set up to receive grants made by persons and institutions out of the NDRF, in violation of Section 46 of the Act.
- The crores being sent to this fund are not even audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
- It is a totally opaque exercise.
- The government of the day has not only ignored the binding law but also circumvented it.
- The government has been fighting the crisis in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner instead of the organised steps as mandated by the Act.
- In so doing, the experts have been sidelined.
Consider the question “Describe the various provision of the DMA 2005 to deal with the disaster. In light of this, examine whether the creation of PM CARES conflicts with the provision of his act”
The national plan to deal with the pandemic and making PM CARES more transparent would help the government in its fight against the corona crisis.