Current Public Administration Magazine (March - 2014) - Disaster Management

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Disaster Management


(i) The State Department of Relief and Rehabilitation may be converted into Department of Disaster Management with the responsibility of looking at the whole cycle of disaster management- prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, relief and rehabilitation. Steps for prevention/mitigation will need to be taken across a number of Departments. The Department of Disaster Management will coordinate the steps taken by the different Department of the Government in these spheres.

(ii) Mitigation, preparedness and response are multi-disciplinary activities involving a number of Departments. In order to ensure the fullest involvement of the relevant Departments, the State Government may consider setting up a State Disaster Management Authority under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary with the Secretaries of Departments of Water Resources, Health, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Roads, Communications, Rural Development, Public Works, Public Health Engineering, Finance and Home as Members. The Secretary of the Department of Disaster Management may be the member-Secretary. This authority will ensure coordinated steps towards mitigation and preparedness as also coordinated response when a disaster strikes.

(iii) It has been noticed that while the local administration has the requisite skills and capabilities for carrying out search and rescue in recurrent types of disaster like flood, there is lack of capability for specialised search and rescue. Each State may consider setting up specialised search and rescue teams. The teams would need to be composite with one coy of the State Armed Police trained and equipped to carry out specialised search and rescue; one mobile engineering unit with necessary equipment and one medical assistance team. These teams may be constituted and trained together so as to function as a unit under the overall charge of a designated officer. Guidance/advise required with reference to training and equipment will be provided by the Disaster Management Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

(iv) It has been decided that fire services may be trained and equipped to function as all hazard response units as in other countries. This will necessitate some additional equipment and training to the fire units for carrying our search and rescue in all types of disasters. The Government of India will be initiating a separate project for this.

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(v) The Ministry of Home Affairs had advised the State Governments that composite control rooms may be set up at the State level and at the district levels under the District Magistrates for coordinating law and order as well as disaster management and that allocations under the Modernisation of Police Forces Schemes may be used for the this purpose. Steps may be taken to put such control room in place quickly with standby communication systems.

(vi) Disaster mitigation concerns/ aspects may be made an essential term of reference for every plan project/development scheme in the areas vulnerable to disasters. In other words, every plan project will need to state as to how is addresses mitigation concerns. Plans/projects specifically addressing mitigation/ prevention may be given a priority. The Secretary of Department of Disaster Management may be made a member for all bodies/ teams constituted for scrutinizing/approving projects/plans.


  1. Discuss the guidelines given to State government on the issue of Disaster Management.

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