Disaster Management Act, 2005


Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • The stated object and purpose of the DM Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
  •  It came into force in India in January 2006.
  •  The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson.
  • The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Authority.
  • All State Governments are mandated to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).

Powers given to the Centre

  • Power bestowed by DM Act on Central Government and NDMA are extensive.
  •  The Central Government, irrespective of any law in force (including overriding powers) can issue any directions to any authority anywhere in India to facilitate or assist in the disaster management.
  •  Importantly, any such directions issued by Central Government and NDMA must necessarily be followed the Union Ministries, State Governments and State Disaster Management Authorities.
  •  In order to achieve all these, the prime minister can exercise all powers of NDMA (S 6(3)). This ensures that there is adequate political and constitutional heft behind the decisions made.

Relevance of DM Act in this pandemic

  • COVID-19 is the first pan India biological disaster being handled by the legal and constitutional institutions of the country. In 2020, the lockdown had been imposed under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act).
  • Under the Act, the States and district authorities can frame their own rules on the basis of broad guidelines issued by the Ministry.
  • The legal basis of the DM Act, is Entry 23, Concurrent List of the Constitution “Social security and social insurance”.
  • Entry 29, Concurrent List “Prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases or pests affecting men, animals or plants,” can also be used for specific law making.


Features of the Disaster Management Act 2005

The following governing bodies are established by DMA 2005.

1. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): The National Disaster Management Authority is headed by the Prime Minister of India as the chairperson and will have no more than nine members including a Vice-Chairperson. All the members will have a tenure of five years. 

The main responsibility of the NDMA is to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management to ensure an effective response in the event of any disaster.

2. National Executive Committee: The DMA empowers the Central Government to create a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Disaster Management Authority. The NEC consists of Secretary level officers of the government in the home, health, power, finance and agricultural ministries.  The NEC is responsible for the preparation of the National Disaster Management Plan for the whole country and to ensure that it is “reviewed and updated annually”.

3. State Disaster Management Authority: The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is responsible for drawing the disaster plan for its respective state. It consists of the Chief Minister who is the chairperson and 8 members appointed by the Chief Minister.

The SDMA is mandated under section 28 to ensure that all the departments of the State prepare disaster management plans as prescribed by the National and State Authorities.

4. District Disaster Management Authority: The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.

5. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): The National Disaster Response Force is tasked with responding to a threatening disaster or a situation similar to it. The NDRF is led by a Director-General appointed by the Central Government. The NDRF has played a major role in rescuing people from many disaster-related events in the past such as the Kashmir floods of 2014 and the Kerala floods of 2018

Way Forward 

The Disaster Management Structure in India

  • As per mandate of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the government created the NDMA as opposed to a separate ministry recommended by the Pant Committee
  • The disaster management set up was structured at three levels viz. national, state and district. The NDMA was set up as the apex body at the national level, while at the state level State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) were set up.
  •  These were headed by the Chief Ministers.  
  • At the district level District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) were set up. These were headed by the District Collectors and co-chaired by elected representatives of the local authorities. All these authorities were charged with the responsibility of formulating holistic and integrated plans for disaster management and ensuring the implementation of these plans when required.
  • The executive committee of the NDMA is called National Executive Committee (NEC). It coordinates the response on behalf of the NDMA. It consists of 14 Secretaries of the government of India as well as the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff.
  •  To assist the NDMA two other bodies have been created called the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The structure of the NDMA, evolved for disaster management at the national level, is shown in the adjacent graphics.

News info : 

  • The Centre invoked the Disaster Management Act, making the District Magistrates and Senior Superintendent of Police personally liable to ensure unhindered inter-State movement of vehicles carrying medical oxygen and to not restrict the supply to a particular State where the oxygen plant is located.
  • The order comes hours after Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister alleged that the governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were blocking the supply of oxygen to Delhi.
  • Delhi procures medical oxygen from neighbouring districts in these States.

New order

  • The Union Home Secretary is the Chairman of the National Executive Committee under the DM Act, 2005.
  •  The 2005 legislation was invoked for the first time in March 2020 to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic after it came into being in the wake of the tsunami disaster.
  •  No restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the States, and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-State movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles.
  • No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit supplies only to the hospitals of the State/UT in which they are located.
  • There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without any restriction and “no authority shall attach the oxygen-carrying vehicles passing through the district or areas for making supplies specific to any particular district(s) or area”.
  • it prohibited the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the Government.
  • It asked the States and Union Territories that they strictly abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by Empowered Group-II and as revised from time to time.
  •  The District Magistrates/ Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police/ Superintendents of Police/ Deputy Commissioners of Police will be personally liable for the implementation of the above directions.
  • The EG-II has recommended the prohibition of the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers from April 22 till further orders, with the exception of nine specified industries.



Print Friendly and PDF
blog comments powered by Disqus