NEW DELHI: The Centre is in the midst of making a comprehensive overhaul of the 2005 Disaster Management Act by focusing on proactive rescue, relief and rehabilitation interventions rather on the existing reactive measures, the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Home Affairs was informed on Saturday. The panel, which met under the chairmanship of Home Minister Amit Shah at Kevadiya in Gujarat, was attended by the three ministers of state for home besides Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and senior officials of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF).
In its presentation to the panel, the government said that it has “adopted a holistic approach towards disaster management which, under the amended Act, would be “relief-and-early warning-centric, proactive and early preparedness-based”. The thrust, according to the Centre, would henceforth be on “minimising the loss of life and property”.
Pointing out that budgetary provision for disaster management has been “increased by 122 per cent in the last eight years”, Shah told the committee that collaborative efforts of the NDMA and NDRF were targeted at helping the states and the Union Territories by “providing logistics and financial assistance” besides “coordinating response and relief measures” in the event of natural calamities.
The government, Shah said, was mindful of the positive impact of public participation at the local level, which was “very important” as part of the overall objectives of disaster management. While an early-warning system has been developed through innovative technologies such as SMS, mobile app and a portal, so that early warning of natural calamity can be conveyed to the people, a ‘Common Alerting Protocol’ project was being implemented across the country to strengthen the last mile spread of early warnings. The Consultative Committee’s meeting took place in the backdrop of the continuing devastating floods in large parts of Assam.
Shah said measures have been put in place to send inter-ministerial central teams to states struck by calamities, without waiting for memoranda from the affected states. The Centre has allocated Rs 13,693 crore for the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and Rs 32,031 crore for the State Disaster Mitigation Fund for the period 2021-22.