The geographical, climatic and demographic conditions of India invites different types of natural disasters as annual festivals, as a result our country has become one of disaster prone country of the globe. Natural Disaster Management is increasingly becoming a global issue, much like child labour, terrorism, international place and human rights. Despite man’s pride of having tamed the unpredictable forces of nature to his advantage, it is the same helpless and hopeless man who proves a pygmy before the founding power of nature. Though disaster or natural calamities do not visit us as a routine matter but when they strike, the rigors of aftermath are awesome and atrocious. In fact five year plan documents have historically not included consideration of issues relating to the management and mitigation of natural disaster. The traditional perception has been limited to the idea of “Calamity Relief” Which is seen as a non plan item of expenditure. The subject of disaster management does not specifically find mention in the three lists (Union, State and concurrent) of 7th schedule of Indian constitution.
The NDMA 2005 will be responsible for laying down the policies, plans and guidelines and co-ordination of the enforcement and implementation of the policies and plans for disaster management in the country. For a sustainable disaster management mechanism in the country, a comprehensive legal frame mechanism is required.
Keywords: NDMA 2005, 7th schedule of Indian constitution, IPCC, Yokohama declaration, Calamity Relief fund, (CRF), 73rd & 74th constitutional amendment.
Be it an Act of God or “Act of man” a mind boggling spectrum of disasters wreck havoc in the Indian subcontinent. Nationally, natural disasters account for nearly 80% off all disaster affected people. The insurance industries estimate that natural disasters represent 85% of insured catastrophe losses in national level. Losses due to disaster have shown growing trend in terms of life and property throughout India .Due to urbanization increasing population and increasing degradation of environment. The public and private efforts to manage disaster are not matched with the frequency and magnitude of natural disaster. However, for the last 15 years and so some new thinking on natural disaster management has emerged at global level which pleads for a proactive and preventive approach and integrates disaster management with ongoing development activities this is sustainable development. According to the World Disaster Report 2009, hydrometerological event, linked to climate change, floods, storms, heat waves and drought together accounted for nearly 60 P.C. of disaster Emergency Relief Fund. (D.E.R.F)
Classification of Disasters:-
The classification of disaster differs as per the criterion of classification. On the basis of their origin, they are classified as natural and manmade. If we take into their severity, they may be classified as major and minor disaster. However high power committee constituted in August 1999 by the Govt. of India, under the chairmanship of K.C. pant adopted origin as the criterion for the classification of disaster. The fundamental task of the committee was to prepare comprehensive model plans for disaster management at district, state and national level. The committee has identified 30 disasters and category them in the following five groups:-
Water and Climate Disaster:-
Such as flood, cyclones, hailstorms, cloud brust, heat and cold waves, snow avalanches, droughts, sea erosion, thunder and lightning.
Such as landslides and mud flows, earthquakes, mine fires, dam failures and general fires.
Such as epidemic, pest attacks, cattle epidemics and food poisoning.
Nuclear and Industrial Disaster:-
Such as chemical & Industrial disaster and nuclear accident.
Such as urban and forest fires, oil spill, mine flooding incidents collapse of huge building structures, bomb blasts, air, road and rail mishaps, boat capsizing and stamped during congregations.
At Central level, an administrative ministry has been identified as nodal agency for each disaster to co-ordinate the activities of disaster management operations at different levels.
Natural Disaster Management: A New Approach
Disaster management is an effort to inquire into process of a hazard turning to disaster to identify its causes. And rectify the same through public policy. Therefore disaster management is a policy issue concern with minimizing and preventing the damaging impact of a natural manmade hazard. Some of the policy and administrative factors relevant to disaster management such as poor and weak or over crowded buildings in earthquake prone Zone, poor land use in flood prone areas, inadequate and faulty laws regulating various processes and facilities, general low risk perception towards among people etc.
The above description of disaster management underlines the difference between the hazard and the disaster. A hazard is a natural or manmade damaging event which is beyond the effective control of human being. Whereas the disaster is the sum total of consequence of natural hazards due to vulnerability of people or regions subject to hazard. Thus same natural hazards may produce different amount of disastrous impact on different group of people or religions. The new approach to disaster management evolves gradually in 1990s beginning with the declaration of 1990-2000 by UN General Assembly as the “international decade of Natural disaster Reduction”. The United Nation Report titled “living with Risk” claims that though, there has been decline in the number of losses to human lives from disaster the occurrence of disaster is raising.
The Yakohama strategy for disaster management was renamed at the world conference on Disaster Reduction held t Hyogo (Japan) in January 2005. The conference laid emphasis in some critical and neglected aspects of disaster management such as Governance and policy frame work, risk identification and early warning, knowledge management, reducing risk factors and preparedness of effective response and recovery. Hyogo (Japan) conference adopted the frame work of Action 2005-2015 called “Building the Resilience of Nations and communities to Disaster.”
Natural disaster management act 2005.
About 60% of land mass in India over 40 million hectors is prone to floods, about 8% the total area prone to cyclone and 68% of area is susceptible to drought. National Disaster Management act 2005 defines disaster management as a continuous cycle and integrated process of planning, organizing, co-coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for :-
Prevention of disaster or threat of any disaster
Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences
Preparedness to deal with any disaster
prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster
Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster.
Evacuation rescue and relief
Rehabilitation and reconstruction
Under Our Constitutional Position:-
Under 7th scheduled of our constitution we see three type of lists such as union list, state list and concurrent lists, having definite areas of works. But with regard to any disaster management we fail to, this subject in any of the three lists. Whether it will be placed in union list, state list or concurrent list, it is a matter of debate and discussion for policy marks.
Railways, atomic energy, defence, U.N.O, public debt of union, currency, insurance, interstate trade and commerce etc.(no subject of natural disaster management).
Public order, Public health, agriculture, water sanitation. Relief of the disabled and unemployable, police etc. (no subject of natural disaster management).
Environment, social security, prevention of the extension from one state to another of infectious or contagious diseases etc. forests, adulteration of food stuffs, etc.(no subject of disaster management).
Through state legislative enactments some functions has been given to local governments also more so after 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment Act.
Role of Union Govt.
Union Govt. gives supportive role in matter of research and development, finances for disaster management. There is cabinet committee on Disaster Management Act 2005 which provides the natural disaster management authority under prime minister’s already functional. A committee of union Govt. looks after issue of financial support from national calamity contingency fund. There is Central Relief Fund Biological and chemical emergencies are co-ordinate by cabinet committee on security. There is natural crisis management by cabinet committee on security. It is headed by the cabinet secretary.
Union Ministries looking after disasters are Ministry of home Affairs- Natural and Manmade Disasters, Ministry of Agriculture- Drought, Ministry of civil Aviations- Air accidents, Ministry of railways- railway accidents, Ministry of Environment- chemical disaster, Ministry of health- biological disaster, Department of Atomic energy- Nuclear accident. etc Crisis management Group (CMG) is chaired by central relief Commissioner on the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Role of State Govt.
Primary responsibility of relief operations is of the states. National Disaster Management Act 2005, provides for the state Disaster Management Authority under the Chief Minister. At top level there is normally cabinet committee on natural calamities under the chief minister. There are crisis management committee chaired by the chief secretaries Relief commissioners Functionaries of the state revenue department are used. They look after issue of natural disasters. They work under crisis management committee headed under the chief secretary, state revenue secretaries, State revenue secretaries are also have some responsibilities overall responsibility at the district level rests with the district collector/ district magistrate.
Role of District collector/ District Magistrate:-
NDM Act 2005 provides for the district disaster management authority under the chairmanship of district collector. Overall co-ordination between various departments at district level is achieved. Under the General financial Rules/ Relief Codes, there are powers to draw money. If there are armed forces units available locally their assistance can be requested. Co-ordination of various groups of civil society is required to manage natural calamities.
Yokohama declaration exposed that economic loss increasing due to various disasters. The Intergovernmental panel at (IPCC) on what worldwide the frequency and magnitude of all types of Natural Disasters are increasing. Increasing tendency of droughts in some areas are more vulnerability of forest fires. Disaster affects everyone directly and indirectly; as they derail developmental process. Two, affects resource availability to future development. More narrow approach that is temporary relief involves more cost. There is need to link disaster management and development relief and reconstruction. Some disasters say floods, drought, earthquakes have much post disaster complication. Men made inhuman disaster are increasing day by day. Over exploration of natural resources is leading towards environmental degradation. That may lead to natural calamities. Our community lacks awareness on public safety, common sense to face natural disasters. In any instance lack of preparedness is converting hazards into disasters.
Flaws in intelligence are causing some disasters. In India Public health Infrastructures is inadequate so health hazards increase at that time. Disabled old, women and children are usually most affected during disasters. More attention is needed to be given to this issue. Even camp managing committee lacks sufficient number of women, to take care of women, in relief and rehabilitation. Aprehensation of misuse of science and technological advancement exists. Drought affects rural areas and particularly to farmer communities more. Irrigation supply infrastructure remains weak in rural areas India.
As normal procedures are difficult to follow, due to urgency corruption problems are there. In effectiveness in water management policies creates problems in drought management and food relief. Study and research in disaster management is still deficient. Traditionally even in legal frame work meaning of disaster has been taken narrowly. Enforcement of public safety regulations is not effective. Low income and poverty creates problems in matters of preparedness. Professional skill for field machinery in matter of natural disasters still lack. Still there are deficiencies in taking up the issue of Geographical Information System (GIS). As a plan scheme. Community participation in vulnerability analysis lacks. Media use of bringing mass awareness is not paid sufficient attention. Digital dissemination of information by disaster management authorities is still inadequate. Much gap exists between disaster research and community capacity building. There are instances of policy makers lacking the disaster management experience potential of ex-service men available in between country is not used well. International or bi lateral co-operation in disaster management is not up to the mark.
What can be done?
Life cycle of natural disasters management can be broadly divided in three phases: Pre crisis, during crisis and post crisis. Sustainable development preparedness can be reduced hazards. There is need to link disasters management and disaster plans. Planned improvement in legal frame work is needed. Bringing community consciousness will help in evading the impact of natural calamities. Short term and long terms planning needs integration. Migration of people, unemployment, trafficking, of women and children are seen during different phases of crisis management.
More effective international co-operation and use of it is needed for community capacity building. Policy of emergency operation centers (EOC) at national, state and district level should be effectively implemented. Subject of disaster management is not mentioned specially in any of the three lists of the 7th schedule of the constitution. National Commission of the Constitution (NCRWC) suggested its inclusion list in concurrent list. Best practices guidelines should be laid down. Meaning of disaster in national disaster management Act 2005 is narrow, it should be bordered. Capacity building in local government is needed. So more power should be added in 73rd and 74th amendments for Panchayata and Municipality to face natural disasters effectively. 2nd ARC recommends in larger cities, say with population, exceeding 2.5 million the Mayor, assisted by the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and the police commissioner should be directly responsible for the crisis management.
Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) exists, various related values exists, say, hazardous waste management and handling rules 1989. The ozone depleting substance (regulation and control) rules 2000, Costal Regulation Zones (CRZ) building Codes, fire safety rules etc. of late five year planning had been giving high priority to such issues. National building code 3 was brought in 2005 India disaster Research Network Disaster Management a Web enabled centralized data base. Standard operating procedures are there which guide the operations in case of crisis. Civil Defence Act was brought 1968 and Civil Defence Regulations 1968 exist. With this new legislations like MNREGA, Food security Act, Juvenile Justice (care and Protection) act, can be used to tackle natural disasters, besides these some states have gone for state disaster management acts say- Bihar Disaster management act 2004, Uttarakhanda disaster Mitigation, management, and prevention act 2005, Uttar Pradesh disaster Management act 2005, Orissa state disaster management authority 2005 etc. on the basis of these acts different states have established department of disaster management to work effectively to face natural calamities. Besides these the following steps should be taken by the govt. to meet the natural disaster challenges.
To improve the disaster preparedness at all levels.
To strengthen the mitigation planning.
To review of our communication networking and dissemination of information.
Speedily response through proper management among relief resources, manpower and duty delegation.
Proper coordination with state district administration and local community.
Preventive measures have to be taken by the community and local administration.
In addition to setting up of a national disaster response force the other agencies like civil defence home guards NSS, NCC, civil society, should be taken into action.
Close interaction between media and govt. in different public awareness programmes must be organized.
Legal services Authority in state, district and in taluk level must be seriously involved to manage the calamities, as per the Legal Services Authority Act.
Corporate sectors must be inspired to join in natural disasters management works.
Academicians, Experts in different fields must be included to serve.
Natural occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, cyclones etc, simply cannot be stopped from taking place what can be done, however it is to take preventive measures at various levels of society in order to make the impact of such natural hazards as harmless as possible for the people and people’s properties. The impact of natural hazard can be reduced; its worst effects can be prevented. A natural hazard only turns into disaster when it hits a community and disputes its normal financing. When it affects people and causes economic damages. Natural disaster hit at all, rich and poor. But it is the poor who will be hurt most. Protecting the poor from disasters contribute to the alleviation of poverty.
The communities actively involved in working on prevention of natural disasters before they strike, belong to all group of society; international and regional organizations, national Govt. and private Firms local administrations or specialized associations what is important to introduce a culture of prevention in disaster managers and all communities, at all levels; action to save lives must be taken before the disaster strikes. Early warning and conscious developmental planning are key elements to preventive planning. Natural Disaster Management in India is still at a very nascent stage. Only time will say how long will it take to have a compressive Disaster Management plan in place across the country of course, prior to the passage of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. We had a Compressive rescue and relief mechanism in place. However, We now want bring about a paradigm shift from post disaster response mechanism to predisaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation strategy. The above mentioned legal support system, when carried out in their totality lays the foundation for an integrated, holistic synergized response at the national level. We as a nation need to prepare ourselves for a holistic approach to Disaster Management as a complete package. We as a nation need to prepare ourselves for a holists approach to disaster Management as a complete package. We have already set in nation number of initiatives like preparation of a national policy issue of disaster specific guidelines awareness and preparedness campaign both in print and electronic media and conduct of monk drill in various part of the country no doubt stages have a very crucial role to play to make very rapid progress in disaster Management.
The Disaster Management Act 2005 now is going to help and tackle the wide variety of disasters that strike India from time to time. This act is a unique legislation. It lays down creation of disaster management organizations at the central, state and district levels, it also institutionalizes the financial mechanism through the creation of National Disaster Response Fund and Natural Disaster Mitigation Fund. The Act also empowers the Disaster management machinery with statutory powers to facilitate and speed up functioning during disaster situations. Our biggest challenge is to realize the national vision of building a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic proactive multi disaster and technology driven strategy for disaster management. This will be achieved through the culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disaster. In the entire process the community will be at the center stage and will be provided momentum and sustenance through the collective effort of all government agencies and nongovernment organizations (N.G.Os).
Notes & References:-
Legal Services Authority Act 1987,http://www.nalsa,gov.in
The Orissa relief code,Revenue dept,Board of revenue(special Relief)govt of Orissa,1996,http://www.orissa.govt.in/revenue
JuvenileJustice(care&protectionAct)Amended2006,http//www.childlineindia.org.in.>..>child related legislations
Right to Information Act2005,http;//www.rti.gov.in
Crop Insurance policy,http//www.ncap.res.in
Hazardous Waste management and Handling rules,1989,http//www.envfor.nic.in
D. Vinod Ku Sharma, Disaster Management :A future vision in India
Dr. K. C. Joshi, constitutional law of India-(2011) Central Law Publication.