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Entire disaster management machinery has been activated against COVID-19

National Disaster Management Authority Mechanisms

National Disaster Management Authority Action Plan

After declaring COVID-19 as a notified disaster, the Government of India has started to put contingency plans in place, and the entire disaster management machinery has been activated. So this article provides us an opportunity to understand the higher-level institutions in India's disaster management architecture. This flowchart depicts the national level institutions that are a part of India's disaster management framework. See the responsibility for managing disasters lies with the state governments and at the national level. The nodal ministry for dealing with disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs. But if a disaster of a severe nature occurs, and if the capacity of the state government is overwhelmed, then the central government comes to the aid and assistance of the state governments to provide for this aid and assistance. Several national levels institutions have been set up under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. This includes the National Disaster Management Authority, the National Crisis Management Committee, the National Executive Committee, and the National Disaster Response Force or the N DRF. See, the Disaster Management Act provides for a three-tier structure for dealing with disasters, and it creates institutions at the national level, state level, and the district level. Amongst all these institutions, the highest level decision making body for disaster management is the NDMA. The Prime Minister acts as the chairperson of the NDMA, and he gets to appoint a maximum of nine members. One of these members is appointed as the vice-chairman of NDMA, and he basically acts as the functional head of the NDMA. The VICE CHAIRPERSON is also given the rank of a cabinet minister. Whereas the other members of the NDMA are given the ranks of Minister of State as the highest decision making authority, the NDMA is responsible for laying down the policies, plans, and guidelines for disaster management. It is also responsible for coordinating their enforcement and implementation by working with the state and district disaster management authorities. So it is the NDMA which has to approve the National Disaster Management Plan. Such a plan was approved in 2016. The NDMA also approves the disaster management plans of respective ministries and departments of the government of India.The National Crisis Management Committee. This is headed by the cabinet secretary and it also includes secretaries of key ministries, which have been given specific responsibilities under disaster Management. For example, the Union Home Secretary, the union finance secretary, the Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, they are included under the National Crisis Management Committee. The responsibility of this institution is to work out the overall command control and coordination of disaster response. When a disaster of a severe nature occurs, its responsibility is to work out specific strategies and action plans, as per the guidelines that have been established in the National Disaster Management Plan. Next, we have the National Executive Committee, which is headed by the Union Home Secretary. It also includes the secretaries from all the key ministries and departments of the Government of India. Its main responsibility is to assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions. So it is the National Executive Committee, which prepares the National Disaster Management Plan and this plan has to be approved By the NDMA. So this was already done in 2016. Now that we have a national disaster management plan in place, the responsibility of the National Executive Committee is to enforce and implement these provisions. So it is the National Executive Committee, which is responsible for implementing the strategy and the action plan that has been developed by the National Crisis Management Committee. So it has the powers to monitor the implementation of the disaster management plan by all the ministries departments and agencies of the Government of India. It can also issue directions to Central and state institutions to provide for adequate resources while dealing with a disaster. It is also responsible for monitoring the extent to for disaster and for monitoring the disaster response of the disaster management authorities during a disaster. As a part of this responsibility, the National Executive Committee coordinates with various institutions, such as the Armed Forces, the Central Armed Police Forces, the NDRF the IMD, or the Indian metrological department and as well as with other early warning and monitoring agencies. Finally, we have the National Disaster Response Force or the NDRF. It is a specialized force that has been constituted under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to provide for a specialist response during a disaster about the disaster management architecture, it directly comes under the NDMA and it currently comprises of around 12 battalions. This specialist Disaster Response Force has been organized on paramilitary lines and its personnel has been drawn based on a deputation from existing central armed police forces of the home ministry, such as  BSF,  CRPF, CISF, ITBP, and SSB. Members of the NDRF receive specialized training and they carry specialized equipment so That they can provide for a professional disaster response during the times of a disaster. So these battalions of the NDRF are made up of self-contained units comprising of engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads, doctors, etc. The NDRF has been tasked with providing disaster response for both natural and man-made disasters and each battalion of the NDRF specializes in a few types of disasters out of these 12 battalions, there are four battalions of the NDRF which specialize in responding to CBRN disasters that is Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear disasters. Since the CBRN, disasters are an outcome of the war, terrorism, or industrial accident. They tend to have national security implications and hence, in the case of CBRN disasters, even the Cabinet Committee on Security gets involved in disaster management. The Cabinet Committee on Security is headed by the prime minister and it includes four top cabinet ministers. There is the home minister, the finance minister, the Foreign Minister, and the Defence Minister. Then coming back to our discussion on the NDRF. The 12 battalions of the NDRF  have been stationed across the country in different states based on the specialization of each battalion and also based on the vulnerability of each region to specific disasters. So, accordingly, these battalions have been stationed in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, NCR region, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh up and around Utter Pradesh. Along with their specific deployment, their jurisdiction and operational area have also been clearly defined. So,  the NDRF has been training the staff and personnel of CISF and the Bureau of immigration Who are deployed at airports and land ports on the protocols that they need to follow to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Then the Prime Minister led NDMA has been working with the state and district disaster management authorities for implementing a coordinated response and the National Crisis Management Committee, headed by the cabinet secretary is working out a strategy to deal with the outbreak.The national executive committee headed by the union home Secretary is ensuring the implementation and monitoring of these policies. Apart from this, the union textiles ministry has been directed by the disaster management institutions to take up masks production of protective clothing to deal with the shortage of masks gloves and other protective clothing.Then the Indian Council of medical research and the integrated disease surveillance program of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, have been directed to expand testing by increasing the number of testing labs.


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