Natural disasters In India-A short study on the administrative reform committee recommendations on Disaster Management

 

 

 

 

Taken from our blog Brink of economic thoughts.

 

Floods and Natural disasters In India-A short study on the administrative reform committee recommendations on Disaster Management

 

 

India in 2017 has been heavily affected by floods. We have been seeing rise in intensity of rainy spells where in a short time a huge amount of downpour of water takes place. Previously it used to be prolonged season where the precipitation was evenly distributed. Due to change exhibited in pattern of rainfall we are seeing instances of incessant flooding. In India Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and North East are highly vulnerable to floods. This year has seen numerous deaths in the states and recent excessive flooding of Mumbai has also brought to attention the serious problem due to water inundation.

India has also matured with passing years and has carved various laws to deal with various crises and protect human lives as well as livestock. At this time due to Hurricane Harvey in Texas,USA many animals have been abandoned. In India we have National Disaster Management Plan for Animals .

 

 

A little about the ARC on crisis management or Disaster mitigation.

 

Over past few decades due to unplanned urbanisation and excessive burst of population, new construction has taken places along the riverbeds. This practise has been homogeneous everywhere. Floods and droughts were not alien to pre historic humans too. But since the population was not staying close to the flowing rivers, during the rainy season even in case if it used to be excessive precipitation, water did not affect normal life and later receded.

Disasters have been part of human civilization, and great civilizations have seen the testimony of this fact. Due to increased globalization and unplanned urbanization we are seeing more such instances in India. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that worldwide the frequency of natural disasters is on rise.Droughts, cyclones; floods have become more and more frequent and affect not only human life but also the livestock. Impact on overall economy is severe and nations do end up spending a portion of GDP on efforts to normalise affairs post disasters. Thus disaster management has become a very critical issue over last few years.

 

What kind of disasters are mentioned in 2nd Administrative Committee report

 

ARC has mentioned reason such as climatic,eg;cyclones,floods,storms and droughts. Geological factors which trigger disaster are earthquakes, avalanches, tsunamis and landslides. We are also witnessing cases of epidemic which result in loss of public health and lives {cases like Gorakhpur tragedy}.Stampedes due to excessive large gatherings of peoples may also result in disasters. Hostile activities due to terror activities have also been summarised as a cause of disaster.

There is a life cycle of crisis. It is before crisis, during and post crisis time of recovery and rehabilitation .Except the earthquakes most of the disasters can be fairly predicted and since we have had frequent experiences of them in past years, our knowledge and experience of past can be helpful in dealing with them.

There has been a set of traditional knowledge existing, cases like tribals in Andaman islands surviving during Tsunami or old built houses of Uttarkashi which sustained the deadliest earthquake.85% of Indian mainland is vulnerable to disasters, with nearly 60 % it in seismic zone area. States like UP and Bihar has fertile land vulnerable to floods. It is concluded that every single rupee which can be spent on earlier mitigation saves 4-5 rupee later from rehabilitation.

Himalayas are very prone to seismic activities due to being young mountains. Around 14 states in eastern, western and central Himalaya witness seismic activities. Building norms have been codified under Indian standards on earthquakes engineering which have been timely modified to construct earthquake resistant structures.

 

 

8000 km of coastline can face hazards of cyclone . Landslides occur in hills due to excessive rains. Such things can hamper river flows and result in formation of temporary storage of water, which when bursts can cause havoc. It is important to regulate the standard of construction activities. Avalanches can be controlled by control blasting of snow deposits.

Industrial disaster is a manmade disaster. In 1984 Bhopal saw the Methyl iso-cyanide gas leak in Union carbide plant. It claimed more than 20,000 deaths and severely affected lakhs others. Bhopal tragedy resulted in enactment of new act Environment Protection Act, 1986 as earlier existing legislations proved to be inefficient.

We have been so far able to curtail any nuclear disaster, but lessons have been learned from Fukushima disaster of 2011 March. In India Department of Atomic energy is responsible to contain any impact due to radiological activities. There were points of concern even in Civil nuclear deal between India and USA due to lesser amount of sum to be paid in case of radioactive leak. This was a highly contentious issue in Civilian nuclear liability Act.

 

Disaster response mechanism

 

Communities and civil authorities are the first respondent during the disasters.Constituion has no specific mention of disaster management in India by either states or centre. But few states have their disaster management departments .Role of CM, cabinet secretary is important as they are responsible for timely decision making to ensure timely evacuation and rescue measures. Army has played a commendable role in India in post disaster rescue steps. Be in Kedarnath tragedy of 2013, or J and K floods, army always puts in maximum effort to rescue common peoples.

 

Conclusion-Laws In India with regards to disaster control

 

Decade of 1990 was observed as the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) by United Nations. Post 2001 Gujarat earthquake government realised the role of an act as previously only Essential services Maintenance act was there to ensure the continuous delivery of important products during crisis. But these proved to be insufficient. Thus we saw formation of National disaster management authority in 2005.Earlier the disaster were looked after by ministry of agriculture, but later they were moved under Home ministry.

With maturing of our democracy we have formulated more laws to cope up with the impact of such tormenting events. National water policy of 2012 mentions about the initiatives to deal with floods.Similary there are laws to mitigate negative impact of oil spills. {the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan of 1996 (NOS-DCP)” }This has been updated in March 2006.We now have much better National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan.

Livestock are badly affected during crisis. Department of Animal Husbandry came up with Disaster Management plan for animals Government figures reveal that as many as 1.98 lakh cattle had lost their lives in floods over the past three years during 2013-15.

In India, animals are at the heart of everything, be it family, culture and livelihood, animals are an intrinsic part of our lives. It’s ironical that animals were missing in the picture till now.

DMP brought out standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are to be followed by the disaster management professions across the country for protection of animals during disasters including floods, landslides and earthquake.

National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), 2016 is the first ever national plan prepared in the country for disaster management. With National Disaster Management Plan 2016 India has aligned our National Plan with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, to which India is a signatory.

 

 

Harsh Vardhan Pathak

 

 

References

 

http://www.bis.org.in/other/quake.htm

 

http://arc.gov.in/3rdreport.pdf

 

 

62 thoughts on “Natural disasters In India-A short study on the administrative reform committee recommendations on Disaster Management

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