India has integrated administrative machinery at the national, state, district, block and village levels for disaster management.
India which follows a Federal system of government has specific roles for the Central and State government for disaster management.
Disasters are effectively managed through close cooperation between government and non-government organisations. The main responsibility of these organisations is to undertake rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures during natural or man-made disasters.
The Central government helps the state government in all possible ways during a disaster.
Role of the Central Government during a Disaster
Role of the Central government during a disaster depends on the gravity of the disaster. Depending on the gravity of the situation the Centre decides the scale of relief operations. The Centre provides financial support and other logistical support to the state government that faces any disaster.
All natural disasters are coordinated by the Ministry of Home affairs. Drought alone is taken care of by the Ministry of Agriculture. When we talk of man-made disasters like accidents different Central government Ministries handle them
|Air accidents||Ministry of Civil Aviation|
|Railway accidents||Ministry of Railways|
|Chemical, Biological & Nuclear disasters||Ministry of Home Affairs|
|Epidemics||Ministry of Health and Family Welfare|
This distribution of responsibility is done to make the disaster management more effective and fast.
The Prime Minister; the Ministers of the Union Cabinet and the National Crisis Management Committee are collectively responsible for the decisions taken for disaster management.
Role of the State Government during a Disaster
In the State level disaster management it is the responsibility of the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary of the State. All decisions on relief operations are taken by them.
Work is further delegated to the Relief Commissioner who is in charge of relief and rehabilitation measures. He functions under the directive of the State level committee.
The Secretary of the Department of Revenue is sometimes in charge of relief measures.
Disaster Management at the District Level
• Government plans for disaster management are implemented by the District Administration.
• The actual ground work for relief is the responsibility of the District Magistrate, the District Collector and the Deputy Commissioner. They coordinate and supervise the relief work.
• The District Disaster Management Committee is headed by the District Magistrate.
• Officers from the Health; Irrigation; Veterinary; Police; Fire Services and the Water and Sanitation department are members of this committee.
• The District Disaster Management Committee takes decisions on the relief measure and these decisions are carried out by the Disaster Management Team.
• Trained personnel from all the departments carry out the relief measures.
Main function of the District Disaster Management Committee
• The committee prepares the District Disaster Management Plan for the State Administration.
• The committee trains members of the Disaster Management Team in rescue and relief operations.
• The Committee carries out mock rescue drills as a preparation for disaster management.
Disaster Management at the Block level
The Block Development Officer or the Taluka Development Officer is in charge of rescue and relief operations at the block level. They head the Disaster Management Committee at the block level.
Officers of all the other government departments at the block level are members of this committee.
The block Disaster Management Plan is prepared by this committee. The Committee coordinates and trains its members for disaster management. Mock drills are also carried out by the committee.
Disaster Management at the Village level
The village Disaster management committee is headed by the Village Sarpanch or the village headman.
He prepares the Village Disaster Management Plan and coordinates with the various agencies during a disaster.
Disaster Management Organisations
There are many Disaster Management Organisations in India. They are
• The United Nations Disaster Management Team – India
• Indian Armed Forces
• National Cadet Corps
• Civil Defence
• National Service Scheme
• Nehru Yuva Kendras
• Home Guards
The United Nations Disaster Management Team- India:
The United Nations Disaster Management Team represents various UN agencies to implement preparedness and mitigation efforts and to strengthen the government’s capacities on disaster management.
The UN General Assembly has appointed the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to look into all International disaster responses.
The UNDMT- India has representations from various UN agencies like the FAO; ILO; UNICEF and WHO. When ever there is a disaster all these agencies act together.
The primary purpose of the UNDMT- India, is to ensure prompt, effective services during a disaster.
Indian Armed Forces:
The Indian Armed Forces is the main entity the Government depends on during disasters. The Armed Forces enter the scene only when the local administration is not able to handle the situation.
The Armed Forces have always played a major role in emergency support functions like communications, search and rescue operations, health and medical facilities, transportation, power, food and civil supplies, public works and engineering.
The Armed Forces are very effective in disaster management and function with great speed and accuracy as they have tremendous capacity and resources at their disposal.
National Cadet Corps:
The National Cadet Corps was formed in the year 1948. The members of this organisation are trained to be courageous and disciplined and develop comradeship and leadership qualities.
The members are trained to have a secular out look, as it is necessary in times of disaster management. A spirit of adventure and sportsmanship is also encouraged among the members.
The NCC aims at creating human resource of organised, trained and activated youth. Members of the NCC are always ready to serve the Nation during any emergency.
Saving lives and minimising damage to property during disasters is the aim of the Civil Defence. They also ensure that there is continuity of industrial production during troubled times.
The National Civil Defence College functions as the training wing of the emergency Relief Organisation of the government of India.
National Service Scheme:
(i) The National Service Scheme involves students in the service of the Nation.
(ii) The Ministry of Education started the NSS during the academic year 1969-’70.
(iii) The motto of the NSS is "Not me but you". The motto underlines the fact that the welfare of the individual depends on the welfare of the society as a whole.
The activities of the NSS:
• Regular activities undertaken during school working days
• Special Camping activities for 10 days in any adopted village or urban slum
Each NSS unit is expected to adopt some underdeveloped area in the vicinity and work for its all round development.
Nehru Yuva Kendras:
The Nehru Yuva Kendras were started in the year 1972. The objective for starting these Kendras was to include the non-student rural youth in nation building activities. This helps the rural youth to develop themselves. The members of these Kendras have helped the community in times of crisis.
Home Guards is a voluntary organisation. The functions of a home guard are
• Help the police in maintenance of internal security
• Help the community during natural or man made disasters
• Help in the maintenance of essential services
• Help in the promotion of communal harmony
• Help in protecting the weaker sections of the community
• Participate in socio-economic and welfare activities
• Perform civil defence services.