First instalment of SDRF released
#GS3 #DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND MITIGATION
- The Centre has released the first instalment of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the States, in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 that has claimed thousands of lives since April.
- As a special dispensation, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, at the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has released in advance of the normal schedule the first instalment of the Central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2021-22 to all the States
The Ministry said the funds might be used for meeting the
- Cost of oxygen generation and
- Storage plants in hospitals,
- Air purifiers,
- Strengthening ambulance services,
- COVID-19 hospitals,
- COVID care centres, consumables,
- Thermal scanners,
- Personal protective equipment,
- Testing laboratories,
- Testing kits and
- Containment zones, among others.
- The SDRF is the primary fund available with the State governments as part of their response to notified disasters to meet expenditure on immediate relief to victims.
- The Centre contributes 75% of the allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States (northeastern, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and J&K).
State disaster Response Fund
- SDRF has been constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- It is the primary fund available with the State governments for responses to notified disasters to meet expenditure for providing immediate relief.
- The Centre contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States and Union Territories (northeastern States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).
- The annual Central contribution is released in two equal installments as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission.
- Disaster (s) covered under SDRF: Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.
- A State Government may use up to 10% of the funds available under the SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters that they consider to be ‘disasters’ within the local context in the State and which are not included in the notified list of disasters of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
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.
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
SOURCE: THE HINDU