Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Shri Amit Shah chaired a meeting with Ministers of Disaster Management of the States/Union Territories, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, today. Under the vision @ 2047 of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the main objective of the meeting was to further strengthen the disaster risk reduction system in the country to make India disaster resilient and to discuss various issues related to disaster management with the Administration of States and Union Territories.
In his address, Shri Amit Shah announced three major schemes of over Rs. 8,000 crore regarding disaster management in the country:
1) Rs. 5,000 crore project to expand and modernize fire services across the states
2) Rs. 2,500-crore project to reduce the risk of urban flooding in the seven most populous metros — Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune
3) Rs. 825 Crore National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project for Landslide Mitigation in 17 States and Union Territories
He said that it should be our endeavor that not a single person’s life is lost due to disaster, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, all the states have made efforts towards achieving this goal in the last 5 years.
Union Home Minister said that the discussions during the meeting are essential for formulating and revising policies at the national level. He said that the Centre and the States have achieved many milestones in the last nine years, but we cannot be complacent. He said that the nature of the disasters has changed and their frequency and intensity have also increased, and for this reason, we have to sharpen and broaden our preparedness to deal with them. He said that many new disasters are being encountered at various places, and we have to be prepared for them.
Shri Amit Shah said that post-2004, after extensive discussion on disaster management at the national level, a collective responsibility and response mechanism was developed at the centre and state level. He said that during the Covid-19 pandemic period, the Centre and the States, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, successfully tackled the worst pandemic of the century. At that difficult time, the Central government, the States, and the public set an excellent example to the world of fighting together on every front. Shri Shah said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the government has provided more than 220 crore free Corona vaccines, arranged food for crores of poor people, brought back lakhs of laborers to their hometowns and made arrangements to address their concerns through DBT.
Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that till a few years back, our approach towards disaster was reactionary and relief-centric. He said that during the last 9 years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, with collective hard work and dedication, we have implemented on ground a new approach of early warning system, prevention, mitigation and preparedness-based disaster management. He said that the Modi government has set a target of preparing around one lakh youth volunteers in 350 high-risk disaster-prone districts, and we are getting very good results during disasters. Shri Shah said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Centre has made proactive efforts to help the states during the last four years by sending IMCT teams 73 times within a time frame of just 10 days. He said that comparing the 9 years from 2005-06 to 2013-14 with 2014-15 to 2022-23, the fund of Rs. 35,858 crore allocated to SDRF has now almost tripled to Rs. 1,04,704 crore. In addition, the release of funds from NDRF has increased by nearly three times from Rs. 25,000 crores to Rs. 77,000 crores. He said that due to the proactive approach, the Centre and States have increased budgetary provision in the areas of disaster risk reduction and post-disaster relief and rehabilitation. He said that in the year 2021, the National Disaster Mitigation Fund was constituted under the Central Government with Rs 16,700 crore and under SDMF Rs 32,000 crore has been kept for mitigation activities.
Shri Amit Shah said that the India Disaster Resource Network has been cataloged across the nation and over one lakh new records have been entered in it. Provision has also been made to implement Common Alerting Protocol through SMS at a cost of Rs. 354 crore. Steps like Disaster Management Information System Portal, 112 Emergency Response Support System are useful and multi-pronged initiatives. He said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has initiated the tradition of awarding the Subhash Chandra Bose AapdaPrabandhanPuraskar to the individuals and organizations who have contributed in the field of disaster management. Shri Shah said that it has given huge encouragement to the individuals and organizations working in this field.
The Union Home Minister said that 271 wetlands have been identified in the Northeast by ISRO for flood management in the country. Earlier, IMD used to give three day advance forecast of rainfall and flood caused by it, it has now been issued in 5 days in advance which provides extra time for rescue efforts, and directions have been given to issue it 7 days in advance by next year. He added that floods have been controlled by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change by planting saplings on the banks of 13 major rivers which are prone to floods.
Shri Amit Shah said that NDMA has visited 7 power plant sites across the states where nuclear power plants are coming up and strict protocols have been sent to the states for rescuing people in case of any emergency. Shri Shah told the States’ ministers to make it their priority and before the nuclear power plant becomes active make all necessary arrangements related to disaster management should be in place. He said that workshops have been organized in 23 states for hot weather conditions. Shri Shah said that suggestions have been made by some states to give compensation to the farmers, and the government will certainly look into this. He said that the states should also increase their budgetary provision for this. He asked all the states to adopt the Model Fire Bill and bring a uniform law across the states. Shri Shah said that all the things that were decided for the general warning protocol have been completed. He said that the preparation of District Disaster Management Plans in 87 districts of 8 states is still pending, they should be completed at the earliest. He said that the State level action plan for Thunderstorm and Lightning has been forwarded by the Centre and so far more than 25 States and Union Territories have not shared it with the Centre. He said that we should make efforts so that no life is lost because of lightning and therefore all these 25 states and union territories should move forward in this direction. State-level action plans on cold waves and fog have been sent by the Centre to the States and Union Territories, and 16 States and UTs have not prepared their action plan for it. Everyone should work on it as soon as possible. Shri Shah said that the Incident Response System has been implemented in 20 states and UTs but 16 states yet to implement it.
During the meeting, topics related to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, the safety of nuclear power plants, early warning and dissemination systems, utilization of mitigation funds, setting up and strengthening of State Disaster Response Forces (SDRFs), State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs), District Disaster Management Authorities and encouraging volunteering by the community in disaster preparedness, response and mitigation were discussed.
The Ministers and representatives of State Governments and Union Territories shared valuable inputs on the issues raised during the meeting. They also shared the best practices being followed by their respective states and views on the future challenges in disaster management.
During the meeting, it was taken into cognizance that the Centre and the States together have achieved many milestones in the last nine years. It was re-emphasized in the meeting that team effort with seamless execution would result in minimum loss of lives, property, and livelihood.