PUDUCHERRY: Contending that natural calamities do not differentiate between States and Union Territories, former Lok Sabha Member M Ramadass, on Sunday, urged the Union government to create a State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) immediately for Puducherry to ensure provision of immediate relief to the rain affected people.
He emphasised that the sanctioning and distribution of `500 crore by the Tamil Nadu government was due to the constitution of the SDRF in the State under provision 48A of National Disaster Management Act,(NDMA) 2005. Pointing to the creation of such funds in 28 States with the provision of 75 per cent of the total fund as recommended by the 13th and 14th Finance Commisions, he regretted the finance commission’s exclusion of the Puducherry from its purview. He called it an anomalous and unjust situation.
When immediate disaster relief is provided to the people of a State, the same relief should be provided to similarly placed people of the Union Territory as well.
The SDRF is operated through the Public Account of the State and the Union Territory of Puducherry had opened this account in 2007 and hence is eligible to create SDRF without any legal hurdle. Therefore it would be fair and just that the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is implementing the NDMA and controlling the Union Territory, issue an immediate order constituting the UT Disaster Response Fund (UTDRF), the former MP said. When this fund is created, expenditure will be met by the UT government but the entire amount will be reimbursed by the Central government once the UT Government submits the accounts along with the annual report.
A separate State Executive Authority under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary will be in place to monitor the expenditure in accordance with the norms and guidelines framed in the context of this fund.