Chapter 6: Second Administrative Reforms Commission Part II
`crisis' may be defined as an emergency situation arising out of natural or human activity which
poses a threat to human life and property or leads to large scale disruption of normal life
While the frequency of calamities may have remained unchanged, increasing population densities
and urbanization have resulted in greater impact on human lives and property.
The scourge of terrorism has created new types of crises and increasing dependence on communications
and computer networks have increased the threat of newer emergencies in case these
are disabled by accident or design.
Types of Crises
Crises caused by acts of nature.
Crises caused by environmental degradation and disturbance of the ecological balance;
Crises caused by accidents
industrial and nuclear mishaps and are related accidents;
Crises caused by biological activities:
Crises caused by hostile elements:
Crises caused by disruption/failure of major infrastructure facilities
Crises caused by large crowds getting out of control.
A crisis situation may be labeled as local, sub- district, district, state or national level.
A `Welfare State' entails wider responsibilities meaning thereby that in addition to the traditional
responsibilities of relief and immediate rehabilitation
Phases of Crisis/Disaster Management :
steps taken for preventing and mitigating the crisis and preparing for actual occurrence.
like construction of embankments
adopting water shed management
Crisis can also be mitigated through various short term measures, which either reduce or
modify the scale and intensity of the threat or improve the durability and capacity of the
elements at risk,
For different types of disasters, mitigation measures may vary but what needs to be emphasized
is the priority and importance to be attached to various measures
During Crisis - Emergency Response
it require a speedy response to alleviate and minimize suffering and losses
Distinction between Hazard and Disaster
A disaster takes place when a community is affected by a hazard
the impact of the disaster is determined by the extent of a community's vulnerability to the
Elements of Crisis Management
crisis management strategy should aim at:
Creating appropriate legal and organizational framework
Government organizations at all levels aware of the risk of potential natural and man-made
Meticulous long and short term planning for crisis management
Building resilience of the communities to face crises and ensuring their full participation
Building and maintaining capabilities (human and institutional)
Developing and disseminating knowledge for effective crisis management.
Shift to Disaster Risk Reduction :
Reviews of the global scenario carried out in the 1990s in the wake of the Yokohama Declaration
Disaster risk reduction (disaster reduction) has been defined as the `systematic development and
application of policies, strategies and practices to minimise vulnerabilities, hazards and the unfolding
of disaster impacts throughout a society, in the broad context of sustainable development'
World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, Yokohama, 1994
Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World
Disaster Risk Reduction Framework
Policy towards Risk Management
Assessment of Risk including Hazard Analysis and Vulnerability
Risk Awareness and Preparation of Plans for Risk Mitigation
Implementation of the Plan
Early Warning Systems
Use of Knowledge
India's Key Hazards, Vulnerabilities and the Crisis Response Mechanism
Almost 85% of the country is vulnerable to single or multiple disasters and about 57% of its area
lies in high seismic zones.
Approximately 40 million hectares of the country's land area is prone to flood, about 8% of the
total land mass is vulnerable to cyclone and 68% of the area is susceptible to drought
chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical or other process failures in an industrial plant due to
accident or negligence - Methyl Iso-cynate gas leak in 1984
Epidemics - the major sources of epidemics can be broadly categorized as follows :
Water-borne diseases like cholera
Vector-borne (often mosquito-borne) epidemics
Person to person transmission of diseases
Air-borne diseases like influenza and measles
Epidemics often take place due to poor sanitary conditions leading to contamination of food and
water or due to inadequate disposal of human or animal carcasses in post- disaster situations.
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been identified as the nodal agency in the country
in respect of man made radiological emergencies in the public domain.
Nuclear facilities in India have adopted internationally accepted guidelines for ensuring safety to
the public and environment
Other Disasters - Slow Onset Disasters
climate change (global warming), desertification, soil degradation, and droughts, would fall under
the category of slow onset disasters.
Droughts - More than 80% of rainfall is received in less than 100 days during the South-west monsoon and
the geographic spread is uneven.
Inadequacy of rains coupled with adverse land-man ratio compels the farmers to practice rain-fed
agriculture in large parts of the country.
Per capita water availability in the country is steadily declining.
About 8.6 million hectares of India's land area is afflicted with the twin problems of alkalinity
and salinity coupled with water-logging
Sea Erosion - The landward displacement of the shoreline caused by the forces of waves and currents is termed
as erosion. Coastal erosion occurs when wind, waves and long shore currents move sand from the shore and
deposit it somewhere else.
Crisis/Disaster Response Mechanism in India
Till late 1960s the necessity for famine relief work declined and a holistic drought management
programme was taken up in the form of the Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP).
Very few laws regarding disaster management till 2005
Structure Prior to NDMA, 2005
Most of the states have Relief Commissioners who are in charge of the relief and rehabilitation
The Relief Commissionerate is usually an adjunct of the Revenue Department whose main job is
to administer land ownership, land revenue and tenurial conditions in rural areas
Every state has a Crisis Management Committee under the chairpersonship of the Chief Secretary,
consisting of secretaries in charge of concerned departments, which reviews crisis situations on a
day-to-day basis at the time of crisis, coordinates the activities
At the ministers' level, a Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities under the chairpersonship
of the Chief Minister
The District Magistrate/Collector has the responsibility for the overall management of disasters
in the district.
NDMA, 2005 - Disaster management with reference to rapid onset disasters was moved from the purview of the
Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry of Agriculture retains the
responsibility for droughts, pest attacks and hailstorms;
State Governments were advised to reorganize their Relief & Rehabilitation Department into a
separate Disaster Management Department;
State Governments were further advised to constitute State Disaster Management Authority
under the Chairmanship of State Chief Minister
A specialized force comprising eight battalions to be named as National Disaster Response Force
to be constituted
An advanced fail-proof disaster communication network would be set up through Emergency
Operation Centres (EOC) at national, state and district levels;
The National Institute of Disaster Management was set up at Delhi for training, capacity building,
research and documentation on different aspects of disaster management in the country;
A community based disaster risk management programme to be launched in multi-hazard districts
throughout the country.
Legal and Institutional Framework
`Disaster Management' as a subject is not mentioned in any of the three lists.
However, by practice and convention the primary responsibility for managing disasters rests with
the State Governments.
National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRCW) to recommend
insertion of an entry on the subject in the Concurrent List
- A new entry, Management of Disasters and Emergencies, natural or man- made, may be included
in List III (Concurrent List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Evolution of Legal Framework
The Factories Act, 1948 amended after the Bhopal tragedy to include the right to information;
along with the EPA ,1986 which lays down rules for the protection of land, water and air
Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989
Chemical Accident (Prevention and Preparedneess) Rules, 1996;
The Atomic Energy Act combined with Rules notified under the Environment Protection act,
State Essential Services Maintenance Acts (ESMA)
Coastal Zone Regulations, Building Codes, Fire Safety Rules etc;
State Public Health Acts;
The Army Act, which empowers civil administration to seek help of army during crisis
What should a law on crisis management provide?
The laws needs the following points
require strengthening of the existing legal framework,
removal of loopholes, wherever they exist,
ensuring an effective coordination mechanism and
an administrative structure with unity of command and well defined responsibilities at all
A totally centralized or totally decentralized mechanism would be ineffective.
Immediate rescue and relief should be the responsibility of the level of government closest to the
Disaster management planning requires wider perspective and expertise. (More role for the
Thus, the legislation for disaster/crisis management needs to create agencies/ authorities at
local/district/state and national levels.
A warning about a looming disaster, received well in time, can avert huge loss of human lives.
Analysis of the Disaster Management Act, 2005
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 defines disaster as natural or man made event that cause
substantial loss to life, property and environment.
NDMA would be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the Ministry
or Department of the Union Government having administrative control of disaster management
This body has extensive powers and functions including laying down guidelines and giving directions
to the concerned ministries or departments
The Role and Functions of a National Disaster Management Organisation
The following are the role for the organization
Provide a coherent approach to disaster management across all phases from preparedness
and mitigation to response and recovery.
Provide a common framework
Allocate responsibilities clearly.
Provide a framework for coordinated response
International practices also do not normally involve setting up centralized authorities with command
and control functions to deal with disasters.
in the US, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency that operates
under the control of the Department of Home Land Security for the purpose of overseeing
federal government assistance in domestic disaster preparation, training of first responders
and coordination of the government's disaster response efforts.
Disaster/Crisis Management should continue to be the primary responsibility of the State Governments
and the Union Government should play a supportive role.
The Act should provide categorization of disasters (say, local, district, state or national level).
The law should cast a duty on every public functionary, to promptly inform the concerned
authority about any crisis, if he/she feels that such authority does not have such information.
The law should make provisions for stringent punishment for misutilization of funds meant for
The role of the local governments should be brought to the forefront for crisis/disaster management.
Crisis management at apex level
A Cabinet Committee on Crisis Management has already been set up.
On separate ministry for Disaster Management:
the multi-disciplinary nature of activities in crisis management, creation of a separate ministry
is likely to lead to conflict and delays rather than coordination.
Role of Local Self-Governments
State Governments may examine the need to incorporate provisions in the state disaster management
law and also the state laws governing local bodies to provide for a well defined role to
the municipal bodies and panchayat raj institutions.
Strengthening of National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM))
It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Home Affairs and its objectives are: (i) to
undertake quality research, (ii) to work as a national resource centre, (iii) to professionalise
disaster management, (iv) to promote training,
The `best practices' in disaster management are the strategies and methods perfected by several
developed countries and India can take advantage from exposure to these practices.
Assessment of Risk - Hazard and Vulnerability Analysis
The first step in planning for mitigation measures for any crisis in an area is an understanding
of the potential hazards in that area
It is also possible to use the Geographical Information System (GIS) tools and non-spatial data
such as demography, socio-economic conditions and infrastructure like road, rail network, communication
system, hospital etc. on a common platform for developing a sound information base
for crisis management.
Scientific, technological and research organizations such as NRSA, ISRO, NIC, GSI and NIDM
should be brought on a common platform by NDMA
Geographical Information System tools should be used
A detailed vulnerability analysis should be carried out in all hazard prone areas.
Generating Awareness about Risk
Awareness generation programmes should be undertaken using tools of social marketing.
A responsible media, which is also well informed about all aspects of disaster, is a very powerful
tool for sensitizing people.
Preparation of Disaster Management Plans
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 mandates preparation of District, State and National level
The District Disaster Management Plan needs to have two components:
Long Term Mitigation Plan.
Long Term Development Plan.
Long Term Enforcement Plan.
Emergency Response Plan.
Making Crisis/Disaster Management Plans a Part of Development Plans
The activities in the disaster management plans should be included in the development plans of
the line agencies and local bodies like panchayats and municipal bodies.
Early Warning Systems
Though it is the responsibility of the government machinery and the local bodies to disseminate
the warning, peoples' participation has to be enlisted.
Communications networks, with sufficient redundancies should be established between the data
collection point to the points where hazard is likely to occur.
The early warning system should be evaluated after each disaster to carry out further improvements.
Building Community Resilience
Location specific training programmes for the community should be executed through the panchayats.
Crisis management awareness needs to be mainstreamed in education.
Orientation and sensitization programmes highlighting issues and concerns in disaster management
should be taken up
Emergency Response System
Since the initial response in any crisis/disaster should be timely and speedy, the Emergency
Response Plans should be up-to-date and should lay down the `trigger points' in unambiguous
The district emergency response plan should be prepared in consultation with all concerned.
Role of Specialized Agencies
The Civil Defence Act should be amended as proposed so as to cover all types of disasters.
Civil Defence should be constituted in all districts which are vulnerable not only to hostile attacks
but also to natural calamities.
The objective should be to include 1% of the population within the fold of Civil Defence within
Policemen, Firemen and the Home Guards at the field level who are among the first responders
should be adequately trained in handling crises/ disasters.
A section of Home Guards should also be given para-medical training.
While in the long run, it would be desirable to place the Fire Services under the control of all
municipal bodies, as a first step, this may be done in bigger cities
While it is necessary that each nodal ministry handling crisis has an EOC, it is clearly desirable
to have an integrated National Emergency Operation Centre for all types of crises.
Damage assessment should be carried out by multidisciplinary teams in a transparent and participatory
A recovery strategy should be evolved in consultation with the affected people and concerned
agencies and organisations.
Minimum standards of relief should be developed to address the requirements of food, health,
water, sanitation and shelter