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  • Ibad Mohd.

An Overview of Disaster Management in India

IBAD MOHD.( B.A.LL.B- 3rd Year) , Lovely Professional University

1. Abstract

One of South Asia's most dangerous nations is India. Regular occurrences include landslides, hurricanes, cyclones, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. The risk of flooding and drought is very significant among these earthquakes. The large-scale financial, infrastructure, agricultural, and productivity losses brought on by these dangers endanger the lives of millions of people while also substantially impeding India's overall growth. Similar to the US, the state and federal levels are primarily in charge of responding to disasters in India. The GOI have a national emergency plan for disaster management, and some of the states also have a disaster management plan. It can be and is called upon to assist, when necessary, but there is a lack of awareness in the public. Many Indian States have limited resources and lack disaster management plans. Considering these problems, this paper attempts to throw light on a more integrated and responsive disaster management system in India.

2. Introduction

A disaster is an unexpected, cataclysmic event that causes significant harm, loss, destruction, and devastation to both people and property. Disasters create incalculable harm, which varies depending on the location, climate, kind of earth’s surface and degree of vulnerability. This affects the affected area's socioeconomic, political, and cultural conditions. Disasters typically have the following repercussions in the affected throws.

I) That entirely throw off daily living as usual.

ii) It has a detrimental effect on emergency systems.

iii) Depending on the magnitude and severity of the crisis, normal requirements and processes—including those for food, shelter, health, etc.—are impacted and deteriorate.

Another way to describe it is as "a major disturbance of society's ability to operate, resulting in widespread losses of people, property, or the environment that exceed the capacity of the affected society to cope using its resources. “Therefore, the major characteristics of a disaster could include unpredictability, unfamiliarity, speed, urgency, uncertainty, and threat. Therefore, disaster can be defined simply as a risk that results in a significant loss of life, property, or means of subsistence. Examples are cyclones that kill 10,000 people or agricultural losses of just one crop.[1]

Generally, disasters are of two types – natural and manmade.

Risk is a measure of the expected losses due to a hazardous event of a particular magnitude occurring in a given area over a specific period. Risk is a function of the probability of particular occurrences and the losses each would cause. The level of risk depends on:

i) Nature of the hazard

ii) Vulnerability of the elements which are affected

iii) Economic value of those elements.

Vulnerability: It is defined as “the extent to which a community, structure, service, and/or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of a particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrain or a disaster-prone area”. "Phenomena that represent a threat to persons, structures, or economic assets and which may produce a disaster" is how hazards are defined. They might be created by humans or arise naturally in our surroundings. The effect, intensity, and characteristics of the event and how it affects people, the environment, and infrastructures are what determine the level of damage in a disaster. One equation for this relationship is as follows: Danger plus vulnerability equals disaster risk.[2]

3. Overview of the Disaster Risk Management Programme

The Disaster Risk Management Program in Brief

To lessen the susceptibility of the people to natural disasters in areas that have been recognised as multi-hazard disaster-prone, the Government of India (GOI), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) inked an agreement in August 2002.

"Sustainable Reduction in Natural Disaster Risk" is the intended outcome in a few of the most hazardous districts in a few Indian states.

These are the program's four primary goals:

1. Assistance in building national capability for the Ministry of Home Affairs.

2. Environmental improvement, education, awareness campaigns, and bolstering of all-level capability for sustainable recovery and risk management of natural disasters.

3. Plans for the program's multi-hazard readiness, response, and mitigation at the state, district, block, village/ward, and in some programme states and districts.

4. Sharing information on efficient techniques, strategies, and instruments for reducing the risk of natural disasters, as well as creating and advancing policy frameworks.[3]

4. Disaster Management Act

The Disaster Management Act was enacted on 23rd December 2005. The Act provides for the establishment of

· NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority)

· SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority)

· DDMA (District Disaster Management Authority)

Act provides for the constitution of the Disaster Response Fund and Disaster Mitigation Fund at the National, State and District levels. Establishment of NIDM and NDRF. Provides penalties for obstruction, false claims, misappropriation etc. It states that there shall be no discrimination on the ground of sex, caste, community, descent or religion in providing compensation and relief

5. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):

It is headed by the Prime Minister with up to a maximum of nine members nominated by the Prime Minister. The Authority may constitute an Advisory Committee consisting of experts in the field of disaster management. The Authority shall be assisted by a National Executive Committee of Secretaries to be constituted by Central Government. It lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management. NDMA shall recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief provided to persons affected by the disaster. The National Executive Committee shall prepare a National Disaster Management Plan in consultation with the State Governments which shall include measures for

· Prevention and mitigation of disasters.

· Integration of mitigation measures in the plans,

· Preparedness and capacity building.[4]

6. State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

At the state level coordinating all activities which comprise eight members to be nominated by the Chief Minister and the Chairperson of the State Executive Committee. One of the members may be designated as the Vice-Chairperson of the State Authority by the Chief Minister. SDMA may constitute an Advisory Committee of experts, as and when necessary. The State Government shall establish a District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in each district. The District Authority will be headed by District Magistrate and shall consist of members, not exceeding seven, as may be prescribed by the State Government. The District Authority shall act as the district planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management. The Local Authority shall ensure the training of its officers and employees and the maintenance of resources to be readily available for use in the event of a disaster. It ensures that all construction projects under it conform to the standards and specifications laid down. It carries out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected area within its jurisdiction. The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) shall plan and promote training and research in disaster management &Start documentation, development of national level information base of disaster management policies, prevention mechanisms, mitigation measures, and networking.[5]

7. Disaster Management Plan

A Disaster Management Plan in India includes the following: -

— Institutional and policy framework;

— Early warning system;

— Disaster prevention and mitigation;

— Preparedness.

Ø Institutional and policy framework[6]

· The institutional and policy mechanisms for carrying out response, relief and rehabilitation have been well-established since Independence. These mechanisms have proved to be robust and effective insofar as response, relief and rehabilitation are concerned.

· At the national level, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal Ministry for all matters concerning disaster management.

· National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC).

· Crisis Management Group.

· Control Room (Emergency Operation Room).

· Contingency Action Plan.

· State Relief Manuals Funding mechanisms.

Ø [7]Warning System

· Cyclone.

· The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is tasked with keeping track of Tropical cyclones and issuing warnings (TC). Remote sensing tools have transformed the monitoring procedure. Using approaches for interpreting satellite images, a forecasting scheme for TC strength and storm surges has been developed.

· The analysis of cyclones has greatly benefited from the meteorological satellite. Also, the architecture of various TCs in the Bay of Bengal has been studied using data from INSAT. As well, IMD is putting out Cloud Motion Vectors (CMVs). In addition to VIS and IR data, the Very High-Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) payload onboard INSAT-2E now also provides water vapour channel data. On this satellite, a different payload called a Charged Couple Device (CCD) has also been installed.

· Flood.

Ø [8]Disaster prevention and mitigation

Mitigation and prevention have been incorporated into the Indian government's development strategy as crucial elements. A thorough chapter on disaster management is included in the Tenth Five Year Plan document.

The Indian government has released guidelines stating that initiatives dealing with mitigation will be given precedence if there is a shelf of projects. Beginning in 1950, actions were done to reduce flood damage. A total of 15 million hectares of the 40 million hectares of land that are flood-prone have been safeguarded by the building of embankments.

Engineers with expertise in earthquake engineering and administrators make up the National Core Group for Earthquake Mitigation.

Ø Preparedness

To reduce susceptibility and respond to disasters quickly and professionally, mitigation and preparedness measures work together.

96 specialised search and rescue teams, each consisting of 45 persons, including doctors, paramedics, structural engineers, etc., are currently being trained and outfitted by the Central Government.

The Ministry of Health is establishing a 200-bed mobile hospital in Delhi that will be attached to a top government hospital and come fully furnished and trained.

Emergency responders can acquire information about key factors for disaster-affected areas with the help of the Geographical Information System (GIS) data source.

8. [9]Case studies and conclusions derived

v Management of earthquake

India’s high earthquake risk and vulnerability are evident from the fact that about 59 per cent of India’s land area could face moderate to severe earthquakes. During the period 2000 to 2010, more than 25000 lives were lost due to major earthquakes in India, which also caused enormous damage to property and public infrastructure. All these earthquakes established that major casualties were caused primarily due to the collapse of buildings. These emphasise the need for strict compliance with town planning bye-laws and earthquake resistance building codes in India. These guidelines have been prepared to take into account an analysis of critical gaps responsible for specific risks. These guidelines emphasise the need for carrying out the structural safety audit of existing lifelines structures and other critical structures in earthquake-prone areas and carrying out selective seismic strengthening and retrofitting. The earthquake guidelines rest on the following six pillars of seismic safety for improving the effectiveness of earthquake management in India. The following are the 6 pillars:

· Earthquake-resistant construction of new structures.

· Selective seismic strengthening and retrofitting of existing priority structures and lifeline structures.

· Regulation and enforcement.

· Awareness and preparedness.

· Capacity development of education, training, R & D, capacity building and documentation.

· Emergency response.

v Surat, Disaster Management Plan

The city of Surat situated in the State of Gujarat in India has a population of more than 4.7 million. Plague in Surat: The plague became an issue of global concern. Close to 200 deaths were linked to the outbreak in Surat. The disease created widespread panic and led to a mass exodus from the city. Apart from the human tragedy, it was a severe blow to not only Surat’s economy which suffered a loss of several million rupees every day but also to the nation’s economy. The outbreak had an impact on industrial production, tourism, export, and many other areas. International flights to India were temporarily suspended, and the export of food grains from Surat was banned. The precipitating factor for the outbreak of plague in Surat was constant rain which lashed the city for more than two months and led to flooding and large-scale water-logging in low-lying areas. The primary reason for this was the faulty drainage system. Hundreds of cattle and other animals died due to the flood and water-logging. The floods, in fact, only brought to a crisis point the dangers inherent in inadequate waste management systems. Conclusion: This plague taught a lesson to the Municipal Authority, other related authorities and the general public in the city. Following the plague, all the drainage systems and stormwater systems were improved. Systems were built for solid waste management and cleanliness. The public became aware of the issues of cleanliness. The flood management system was introduced; a hydrological contour map was prepared for the city. Rescue and relief services are put in order.

v The Bhopal gas tragedy

The careless siting of industry and relatively poor regulatory controls leads to ill health in the urban centres. The Bhopal gas tragedy on December 2nd, 1984, where Union Carbide’s plant leaked 43 tons of methyl isocyanate and other substances, used in the manufacture of pesticides, is one of the worst industrial accidents in the recent past. Of the 520,000 people who were exposed to the gas, 8,000 died during the first week and another 8,000 later. The impact on the survivors is visible even today. Conclusion: The government of India and respective state governments through their pollution control board have laid down strict regulations and monitoring systems for industries to avoid any such accident. Every industry is forced to have safety measures and disaster management plans.

v India tsunami

On December 26, 2004, the tsunami caused extensive damage in 897 villages in five states/UTs in India. During the tsunami 4,259 were Injured, 5,555 people were missing and 10,749 were dead. The major sectors affected in each state: are fisheries and boats, ports and jetties, roads and bridges, power and ICT, housing, water supply and sewerage and social infrastructure. Rescue and relief operations were adjusted to be speedy, effective and timely by the external agency i.e. undertaking debris removal and disposal of bodies, dispatching relief material, and providing food, water, and medical assistance. Adopting good past practices:

· Earlier disaster management programs, done successfully, were revisited to carry forward the lessons learned.

· Encourage ownership of solutions by potential beneficiaries to ensure sustainability.

· Encourage partnerships of government, beneficiaries, community-based women’s organizations and NGOs to ensure sustainable development.

· Demonstrate that project implementation can be assured through a fully empowered Project Management Unit with competent leadership.

· Address the need for a long-term approach to O&M funding.

9. Conclusion

Disasters will occur. The truth is found in the statement that "we must all endeavour to survive the current and upcoming crises." Although we cannot control nature, we may at least monitor and guard. A well-organized, planned response to the tragedy and preparedness will help save lives.

The great people who have lived and are living on Earth have emphasised that "unity and unanimity devoid of discords" are the keys to success.

The forceful emergence of the idea of disaster management as a vital function of government during mid- 1980s presented a piquant situation for both legal luminaries as well as the government functionaries to figure out the constitutional locale for enacting appropriate legislation and dovetailing corresponding executive responsibility for the same. In the absence of any specific reference to the subject in the constitutional distribution of powers between the centre and the state, it has traditionally been derived from the colonial practice that disaster management, presumably given its insignificance in the governmental reckoning during the colonial period, is a state subject insofar as the specification of its constitutional domain is concerned. But soon the state governments realized that disaster management is as complex and expensive a task as simple and inexpensive as it appears on the surface. As a result, there began a rethinking in resituating the constitutional locale of the subject in such a way that the central government also gets an important role to play in the whole exercise of making India disaster resilient. Almost all the committees and commissions set up to review the working of the constitution as well as the governmental machinery concluded that at best disaster management can be a concurrent subject rather than considering it under the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.

Owing to the vigorous pursuits at the international level to make the world disaster resilient on the one hand, and the different parts of the country getting ravaged by a series of natural disasters, on the other, it became somewhat indispensable for the governments, both central as well as states, to enact dedicated legislations providing for a comprehensive plan and machinery to implement the same for efficient and effective management of disasters in the country. The states emerged as the pioneers in this field as they got their laws enacted even when the central government was in consultation and drafting its legislation. Eventually, the central legislation on the subject was enacted in 2005 raising several federal issues in the management of disasters in India. For instance, the point was raised that how the central government could get the power to issue directions to the states for compulsory compliance in an area which has till now been understood to be the exclusive domain of the states. Similarly, the creation of a mammoth machinery for disaster management at the central level has also been questioned on the ground that the appropriate powers and functions of the central government in the management of disaster remain confined to evolving policy guidelines and sanctioning sufficient quantum of resources to the states in carrying out their primary responsibilities of disaster management. More than this on the part of the central government might be construed to be undue interference in the domain of the states. Thankfully, due to the developmental and humanitarian nature of activities involved in the management of disasters, the subject has not become a point of one-upmanship between centres and states. But the issue remains a potential flashpoint in centre-state relations in future.[10]

REFERENCE [1] National Disaster Management Authorities, Government of India. . [2] Shah, A. J. (2011). An overview of disaster management in India. WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, 119, 73-83. [3] Das, P. (2012). Disaster management in India: policy review and institutional structure. Asiapac Journal of Socical Sciences, 4, 37-52. [4] Patil, P. (2012). Disaster management in India. Indian Res J, 2(1), 1-6. [5] Id. [6] Sukhwani, V., & Shaw, R. (2020). Operationalizing crowdsourcing through mobile applications for disaster management in India. Progress in Disaster Science, 5, 100052. [7] Sukhwani, V., & Shaw, R. (2020). Operationalizing crowdsourcing through mobile applications for disaster management in India. Progress in Disaster Science, 5, 100052. [8] Id. [9] Pandey, R. K. (2016). Legal framework of disaster management in India. ILI Law Review, Winter, (2016). [10] Pandey, R. K. (2016). Legal framework of disaster management in India. ILI Law Review, Winter, (2016).

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