Comprehensive article on National Disaster Management Authority in 2021

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This article will deal with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in detail along with Hazards and types of Hazards. We will also see the key authorities in India dealing with Disaster along with their role in brief.

India and its Multi-Hazard Vulnerability— As per the definition adopted by UNISDR, hazard is a dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity, or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.India, due to its, physiographic and climatic conditions is one of the most disaster-prone areas of the World.

India’s Disaster Vulnerability

  • Nearly 59 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity.
  • More than 40 million hectares (12 per cent of land) is prone to floods and river erosion.
  • Of the nearly 7,500 km long coastline, close to 5,700 km is prone to cyclones and tsunamis.
  • Nearly 68%of the cultivable area is vulnerable to drought.
  • Large tracts in hilly regions are at risk from landslides and some are prone to snow avalanches.
  • Vulnerability to disasters/emergencies of CBRN origin also exists.

Causes of Disaster

Heightened vulnerabilities to disaster risks in the current time can be related to

  • expanding population,
  • urbanisation, and industrialisation,
  • development within high-risk zones,
  • environmental degradation
  • climate change.

Besides these various human-induced activities are also responsible for accelerated impact and increase in frequency of disasters in the country like

  • increasing demographic pressure,
  • deteriorating environmental conditions,
  • deforestation,
  • unscientific development,
  • faulty agricultural practices and grazing,
  • unplanned urbanisation,
  • construction of large dams on river channels

Human vulnerability

  • In the context of human vulnerability to disasters, economically and socially weaker segments of the population are the ones that are most seriously affected.
  • Within the vulnerable groups, elderly persons, women, children— especially women rendered destitute, children orphaned by disasters and differently abled persons are exposed to higher risks.
  • The DM Act 2005 and National Policy on Disaster Management 2009 for defining the roles and responsibilities.
  • consider disasters to be
    • Natural
    • Human-induced including CBRN threats (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN))

Now let’s Study about Disaster

What is Disaster

The revised terminology of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction defines ‘disaster‘ as: “A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses, and impacts.”

  • The effect of the disaster can be immediate and localized but is often widespread, often persisting for long after the event.
  • The effect may challenge or overwhelm the capacity of a community or society to cope using the resources immediately and therefore may require assistance from external sources, which could include neighbouring jurisdictions or those at the national or international levels.
  • UNISDR considers disaster to be a result of the combination of many factors such as the exposure to hazards, the conditions of vulnerability that are present, and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce or cope with the potential negative consequences.
  • Disaster impacts may include loss of life, injuries, disease, and other negative effects on human physical, mental and social well-being, together with damage to property, destruction of assets, loss of services, social and economic disruption, and environmental degradation.

The DM Act 2005 uses the following definition for disaster:

“Disaster” means a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or manmade causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.”

Types of Disasters

  • Primarily disasters are triggered by natural hazards or human-induced or result from a combination of both. Human-induced factors can greatly aggravate the adverse impacts of a natural disaster.
  • Even at a larger scale, globally, the UN Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that human-induced climate change has significantly increased both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
  • While heavy rains, cyclones, or earthquakes are all-natural, the impacts may, and are usually, worsened by many factors related to human activity.
  • The extensive industrialisation and urbanisation increase both the probability of human-induced disasters and the extent of potential damage to life and property from both natural and human-induced disasters.
  • Human society is also vulnerable to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) threats and events that might escalate to emergencies/ disasters.

Broadly classifying there are two type of Disaster which can be further classified into different cateogories. Natural Disaster & Human Induced Disasters

Natural Hazards

The widely accepted classification system used by the Disaster Information Management System of DesInventar classifies disasters arising from natural hazards into five major categories and is used globally for the Sendai targets monitoring:

  1. Geophysical: Geological process or phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage. Hydro-meteorological factors are important contributors to some of these processes.
  2. Hydrological: Events caused by deviations in the normal water cycle and/or overflow of bodies of water caused by wind set-up
  3. Meteorological: Events caused by short-lived/small to mesoscale atmospheric processes (in the spectrum from minutes to days)
  4. Climatological: Events caused by long-lived micro to macro-scale processes (in the spectrum from intra-seasonal to multi-decadal climate variability)
  5. Biological: Process or phenomenon of organic origin or conveyed by biological vectors, including exposure to pathogenic micro-organisms, toxins and bioactive substances that may cause loss of life, injury, illness or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.

Categories of Natural Hazards

FamilyEventSecondary Disaster
GeophysicalEarthquake/ Mass
movement of earth
materials
• Landslide following earthquake;
• Urban fires triggered by earthquakes;
• Liquefaction - the transformation of (partially) water-saturated soil from a solid state to a liquid state caused by an earthquake
• Mass movement of earth materials, usually down slopes
• Surface displacement of earthen materials due to ground shaking triggered by earthquakes
Volcano• Surface displacement of earthen materials due to ground shaking triggered by volcanic eruptions, a type of geological event near an opening/vent in the Earth's surface including volcanic eruptions of lava, ash, hot vapour, gas, and pyroclastic material.
• Ash fall; Lahar - Hot or cold mixture of earthen material flowing on the slope of a volcano either during or between volcanic eruptions;
• Lava Flow
• Pyroclastic Flow - Extremely hot gases, ash, and other materials of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius that rapidly flow down the flank of a volcano (more than 700 km/h) during an eruption
TsunamiTsunamis are difficult to categorize they are essentially an oceanic process that is manifested as a coastal water-related hazard. A series of waves (with long wavelengths when traveling across the deep ocean) that are generated by a displacement of massive amounts of water through underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or landslides. Tsunami waves travel at very high speed across the ocean but as they begin to reach shallow water they slow down, and the wave grows steeper.
Hydrological• Flood
• Landslides
• Wave Action
• Avalanche, a large mass of loosened earth material, snow, or ice that slides, flows or falls rapidly down a mountainside under the force of gravity
• Coastal Erosion - The temporary or permanent loss of sediments or landmass in coastal margins due to the action of waves, winds, tides, or anthropogenic activities
• Coastal flood - Higher-than-normal water levels along the coast caused by tidal changes or thunderstorms that result in flooding, which can last from days to weeks
• Debris Flow, Mud Flow, Rock Fall - Types of landslides that occur when heavy rain or rapid snow/ice melt send large amounts of vegetation, mud, or rock downslope by gravitational forces
• Flash Flood Hydrological - Heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time that produce immediate runoff, creating flooding conditions within minutes or a few hours during or after the rainfall
• Flood Hydrological - A general term for the overflow of water from a stream channel onto normally dry land in the floodplain (riverine flooding), higher-than normal levels along the coast and in lakes or reservoirs (coastal flooding) as well as ponding of water at or near the point where the rain fell (flash floods)
• Wave Action: Wind-generated surface waves that can occur on the surface of any open body of water such as oceans, rivers and lakes, etc. The size of the wave depends on the strength of the wind and the travelled distance (fetch).
MeteorologicalHazard caused by short-lived, micro- to meso-scale extreme weather and atmospheric conditions that may last for minutes to days
• Cyclone, Storm Surge, Tornado, Convective Storm, Extra-tropical Storm, Wind
• Cold Wave, Derecho
• Extreme Temperature, Fog, Frost, Freeze, Hail,Heat wave
• Lightning, Heavy rain
• Sandstorm, Dust-storm
*Snow, Ice, Winter Storm, Blizzard
ClimatologicalUnusual, extreme weather conditions related to long-lived, meso- to macroscale atmospheric processes ranging from intra-seasonal to multi-decadal (long-term) climate variability
• Drought
• Extreme hot/cold conditions
• Forest/Wildfire Fires
• Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF)
• Subsidence
Biological
Exposure to germs
and toxic substances
• Epidemics: viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal, or prion infections
• Insect infestations
*Animal stampedes

Human-Induced Disasters

  • The National Policy of Disaster Management 2009 notes that the rise in population, rapid urbanization and industrialization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, and climate change aggravates the vulnerabilities to various kinds of disasters.
  • Due to inadequate disaster preparedness, communities, and animals are at increased risk from many kinds of human-induced hazards arising from accidents such as–
    • industrial, road, air, rail, on river or sea, building collapse, fires, mine flooding, urban flooding, oil spills.
  • Hazards due to CBRN threats and events rank very high among the causes that are human-induced acts. Terrorist activities and secondary incidences arising from intentional or non -intentional activities also add to these risks and calls for adequate preparedness and planning.

India’s response to Disasters

Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005 lays down institutional and coordination mechanisms for effective Disaster Management at the national, state, district, and local levels.
  • As mandated by this Act, the Government of India created a multi-tiered institutional system consisting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) headed by the respective Chief Ministers, and the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) headed by the District Collectors/ District Magistrate and co-chaired by Chairpersons of the local bodies.
  • In each State/ Union Territory (UT), there will be one nodal agency, for coordination of disaster management, which is referred to in the plan as ‘Disaster Management Department‘ (DMD).
  • The institutional arrangements have been set up consistent with the paradigm shift from the relief-centric approach of the past to a proactive, holistic and integrated approach for Disaster Risk Reduction by way of strengthening disaster preparedness, mitigation, and emergency response.

National Disaster Management Plan

  • The National Disaster Management Plan provides a framework and direction to the government agencies for all phases of the disaster management cycle.
  • The NDMP is a “dynamic document” in the sense that it will be periodically improved keeping up with the emerging global best practices and knowledge base in disaster management.
  • It is under the provisions of the DM Act 2005, the guidance given in the National Policy on Disaster Management (NPDM) 2009, and the established national practices.
  • The NDMP recognizes the need to minimize, if not eliminate, any ambiguity in the responsibility framework. It, therefore, specifies who is responsible for what at different stages of managing disasters.
  • It is meant to be implemented in a flexible and scalable manner in all phases of disaster management:
    • Mitigation (prevention and risk reduction),
    • Preparedness
    • Response
    • Recovery (immediate restoration and build-back better).

The overall coordination of disaster management vests with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making regarding disaster management.The National Disaster Management Authority is the agency responsible for the approval of the NDMP and facilitating its implementation.The figure represents merely the institutional pathways for coordination, decision-making and communication for disaster management and does not imply any chain of command.

national disaster managment authority
national disaster managment authority

Key National Level Decision-Making Bodies for Disaster Management

NameCompositionRole
Cabinet
Committee
on Security
(CCS)
Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Minister of Finance, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of External Affairs
• Evaluation from a national security perspective, if an incident has potentially security implications
• Oversee all aspects of preparedness, mitigation and management of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies and of disasters with security implications
• Review risks of CBRN emergencies from time to time, giving directions for measures considered necessary for disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and effective response
National
Crisis
Management
Committee
(NCMC)
• Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson)
• Secretaries of Ministries/ Departments and agencies with specific DM responsibilities
• Oversee the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response
• Give direction to the Crisis Management Group as deemed necessary
• Give direction for specific actions to face crisis situations
National
Disaster
Management
Authority
(NDMA)
• Prime Minister (Chairperson)
• Members (not exceeding nine, nominated by the Chairperson)
• Lay down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management
• Coordinate their enforcement and implementation throughout the country
• Approve the NDMP and the DM plans of the respective Ministries and Departments of Government of India
• Lay down guidelines for disaster management to be followed by the different Central Ministries, Departments and the State Governments
National Executive Committee
(NEC)
• Union Home Secretary (Chairperson)
• Secretaries to the GOI in the Ministries/ Departments of Agriculture, Atomic Energy, Defence, Drinking Water and sanitation, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Finance (Expenditure), Health and Family Welfare, Power, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Space, Telecommunications, Urban Development, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, The Chief of the Integrated Defense Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, ex officio as members.
• Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs, Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Mines, Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Chairman, Central Water Commission and Secretary, NDMA are special invitees to the meetings of the NEC.
• To assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions
• Preparation of the National Plan
• Coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy
• Monitor the implementation of the National Plan and the plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India
• Direct any department or agency of the Govt, to make available to the NDMA or SDMAs such men, material or resources as are available with it for emergency response, rescue and relief
• Ensure compliance of the directions issued by the Central Government
• Coordinate response in the event of any threatening disaster situation or disaster
• Direct the relevant Ministries/ Departments of the GOI, the State Governments and the SDMAs regarding measures to be taken in response to any specific threatening disaster situation or disaster.
• Coordinate with relevant Central Ministries/ Departments/ Agencies which are expected to assist the affected State as per protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
• Coordinate with the Armed Forces, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other uniformed services which comprise the GOI's response to aid the State authorities
• Coordinate with all relevant specialized scientific institutions/ agencies responsible for providing early warning and monitoring
• Coordinate with SDRF, civil defense volunteers, home guards and fire services, through the relevant administrative departments of the State Governments
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)Specially trained force headed by a Director General Structured like paramilitary forces for rapid deployment
Assist the relevant State Government/District Administration in the event of an imminent hazard event or in its aftermath
National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)Union Home Minister; Vice Chairman, NDMA;
Members including Secretaries of various nodal Ministries and
Departments of Government of India and State Governments and heads of national levels scientific, research and technical organizations, besides eminent scholars, scientists and practitioners.
• Human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA
• Design, develop and implement training programmes
• Undertake research
• Formulate and implement a comprehensive human resource development plan
• Provide assistance in national policy formulation, assist other research and training institutes, state governments and other organizations for successfully discharging their responsibilities
• Develop educational materials for dissemination
• Promote awareness generation

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • The Government of India established the National Disaster Management Authority in 2005, headed by the Prime Minister.
  • Under the DM Act 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority, as the apex body for disaster management, shall have the responsibility for laying down the policies and guidelines for disaster management for ensuring timely and effective response to the disaster.
  • The guidelines of National Disaster Management Authority will assist the Central Ministries, Departments, and States to formulate their respective DM plans.
  • It will approve the National Disaster Management Plan and DM plans of the Central Ministries/ Departments.
  • It will take such other measures, as it may consider necessary, for the prevention of disasters, or mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building, for dealing with a threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • Central Ministries/ Departments and State Governments will extend necessary cooperation and assistance to National Disaster Management Authority for carrying out its mandate.
  • National Disaster Management Authority has the power to authorise the Departments or authorities concerned, to make emergency procurement of provisions or materials for rescue and relief in a threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • The general superintendence, direction, and control of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) works within the framework of broad policies and guidelines laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority has the mandate to deal with all types of disasters – natural or human-induced.
  • However, other emergencies such as terrorism (counter-insurgency), law and order situations, hijacking, air accidents, CBRN weapon systems, which require the close involvement of the security forces and/or intelligence agencies, and other incidents such as mine disasters, port and harbour emergencies, forest fires, oilfield fires and oil spills will be handled by the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC). Nevertheless, National Disaster Management Authority may formulate the guidelines with advice/ inputs drawn from experts of DAE and facilitate training and preparedness activities in respect of response to emergencies with technical advice obtained from experts from DAE.

National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)

  • As per the provisions of the Chapter-VII of the DM Act, the Government of India constituted the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) under an Act of Parliament to be the premier institute for capacity development for disaster management in India and the region.
  • The vision of NIDM is to create a Disaster Resilient India by building the capacity at all levels for disaster prevention and preparedness.
  • NIDM has been assigned nodal responsibilities for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation, and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management.
  • The NIDM has built strategic partnerships with various ministries and departments of the central, state, and local governments, academic, research and technical organizations in India and abroad and other bi-lateral and multi-lateral international agencies.
  • It provides technical support to the state governments through the Disaster Management Centres (DMCs) in the Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) of the States and Union Territories. Some of them are emerging as centres of excellence in the specialised areas of risk management – flood, earthquake, cyclone, drought, landslides, and industrial disasters.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

  • The NDRF has been constituted as per the Chapter-VIII of the DM Act 2005 as a specialist response force that can be deployed in a threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • As per the DM Act, the general superintendence, direction and control of the NDRF shall be vested and exercised by the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • The command and supervision of the NDRF shall vest with the Director-General appointed by the Government of India.
  • The NDRF will position its battalions at different locations as required for effective response.
  • NDRF units will maintain close liaison with the designated State Governments and will be available to them in the event of any serious threatening disaster situation.
  • The NDRF is equipped and trained to respond to situations arising out of natural disasters and CBRN emergencies.
  • The NDRF units will also impart basic training to all the stakeholders identified by the State Governments in their respective locations.
  • A National Disaster Response Academy is operational in Nagpur and new infrastructure is being set up to cater to national and InternationaI training programmes for disaster management.
  • It has also been decided that Disaster Management Training Wings of four CAPFs (BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF) will be merged with this Academy.
  • Experience in major disasters has clearly shown the need for pre-positioning of some response forces to augment the resources at the State level at crucial locations including some in high altitude regions.

national disaster managment authority
state disaster managment authority
  • As per the DM Act of 2005, each state in India/ Union Territory (UT) shall have its institutional framework for disaster management.
  • Each State/UT will have one nodal department for coordination of disaster management, referred as DM department (DMD), although the name and department are not the same in each State/UT.
  • Among other things, the DM Act mandates that each State/UT shall take necessary steps for the preparation of State/UT DM plans, integration of measures for prevention of disasters or mitigation into State/UT development plans, allocation of funds, and establish EWS.
  • Depending on specific situations and needs, the State/UT shall also assist the Central Government and central agencies in various aspects of DM.
  • Each state shall prepare its own State Disaster Management Plan.
  • The DM Act mandates the setting of a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and a similar system in each Union Territory. At the district level, District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the District Collector or District Magistrate or the Deputy Commissioner, as applicable, will be responsible for overall coordination of the disaster management efforts and planning.

State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

  • As per provisions in Chapter-Ill of the DM Act, each State Government shall establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) or its equivalent as notified by the state government with the Chief Minister as the Chairperson.
  • In the case of other UTs, the Lieutenant Governor or the Administrator shall be the Chairperson of that Authority. For the UT of Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister shall be the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson respectively of the State Authority.
  • In the case of a UT having a Legislative Assembly, except the UT of Delhi, the Chief Minister shall be the Chairperson of the Authority established under this section.
  • The SDMA will lay down policies and plans for DM in the State.
  • The SDMA will approve the disaster management plans prepared by various departments.
  • It will, inter alia approve the State Plan under the guidelines laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority, coordinate the implementation of the State Plan, recommend the provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures and review the developmental plans of the different departments of the State to ensure the integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures.
  • The State Government shall constitute a State Executive Committee (SEC) to assist the SDMA in the performance of its functions.
  • The SEC will be headed by the Chief Secretary to the State Government.
  • The SEC will coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy, the National Plan, and the State Plan.
  • The SEC will also provide information to the National Disaster Management Authority relating to different aspects of DM.

District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)

  • As per provisions in Chapter-IV of the DM Act, each State Government shall establish a District Disaster Management Authority for every district in the State with such name as may be specified in that notification.
  • The DDMA will be headed by the District Collector, Deputy Commissioner, or District Magistrate as the case may be, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson.
  • The State Government shall appoint an officer not below the rank of Additional Collector or Additional District Magistrate or Additional Deputy Commissioner of the district to be the Chief Executive Officer of the District Authority.
  • The DDMA will act as the planning, coordinating and implementing body for DM at the District level and take all necessary measures for DM under the guidelines laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority and SDMA.
  • It will, inter alia, prepare the DM plan for the District and monitor the implementation of all relevant national, state, and district policies and plans.
  • The DDMA will also ensure that the guidelines for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and response measures laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority and the SDMA are followed by all the district-level offices of the various departments of the State Government.

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