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Disaster Management: Legislative and Institutional Framework in India

National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), 2005

In the previous article, we have dealt with basics of disaster management and international conventions regarding disaster management. This article will the last article of our 3-article series. In this article, we will discuss about the legislative and institutional framework in India with respect to disaster management. After these 3 articles, civil services aspirants need not go anywhere for further information on disaster management, and try to solve questions to have a better command on this topic of UPSC syllabus.


Disaster Management: What does the constitution say?

  • ‘Disaster Management’ as a subject is not mentioned in any of the three lists of Schedule VII of our constitution.
  • It means provisions regarding disaster management comes under the Residuary Powers of the Union under entry 97 of the Union List.
  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRCW) recommended the following “Management of Disasters and Emergencies, natural or man-made be included in list three i.e., the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution”.


Legislative framework and institutional framework

  • The Union Government, after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, decided to formulate a comprehensive disaster management legislation, providing for a legal and institutional framework of crisis management at all levels in the country. The Disaster Management Bill was introduced in Parliament in May 2005 and finally enacted in December 2005.


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National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), 2005: Key provisions

  • The Act defines disaster as ‘a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substancial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.


National Disaster Management Authority

  • The Act provides for establishment of a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) with Prime Minister as the ex-officio Chairperson and other Members, not exceeding nine in number, one of them being Vice Chairperson.


Functions of NDMA

  • lay down policies on disaster management
  • approve the National Plan
  • coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plan for disaster management
  • approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.


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National Executive Committee

  • The Act further provides for the constitution of a National Executive Committee (NEC) to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy, the National Plan and the State Plan, apart from performing other functions.


State Disaster Management Authority:

  • At the State level, that Act establishes a State Disaster Management Authority with the Chief Minister as ex officio Chairperson and other Members (not exceeding nine and inclusive of Chairperson of the State Executive Committee as ex officio Member) to prepare a State Disaster Management Plan.


District Disaster Management Authority

  • At the district level, the Act establishes a District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), with Collector as ex officio Chairperson to prepare a District Disaster Plan.


National Institute of Disaster Management

  • The Act further provides for the constitution of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).
  • The Institute shall have a Governing Body which shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions as may be prescribed by regulations.
  • Subject to the provisions of the Act, NIDM shall function within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the National Authority and be responsible for planning and promoting training and research in the area of disaster management, documentation and development of a national level information base


National Disaster Response Force

  • The Act further provides for the setting up of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialist response to disaster or threatening disaster.
  • The general superintendence, direction and control of the Force shall vest in the NDMA.


National Disaster Response Fund

  • The Act has also provided for the constitution of National Disaster Response Fund which shall be made available to the NEC and National Disaster Mitigation Fund which shall be applied by the NDMA.


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