Disaster Management UPSC Notes – [Important Topics Covered]

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Disaster Management UPSC Notes - [Important Topics Covered]

3 broad phases of DM

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation

3 phases During Disaster Management – Mitigation / Adaptation

  • Rescue
  • Relief
    • Provision of eseential , apppropriate and timely humaitarian assisatcne to those affected
      • Appropriate –
        • culturally acceptable – Non Veg food , Torn clothes

Also highlight this is Ethics and connection to the Loved Ones

      • Also means providing the material which is more imp – eg medicine, blanket
      • Non Politicisation – Photos of leaders
    • Food, Shelter
    • Suggestion –
      • Cash ( Economic Distortion, help culturally not appropriate, and spurs the local economy, also suggested by Amrartya Sen )
      • In relief Camps – 2nd ARC
        • 2nd ARC says trauma care should be set up at relief camps
        • Safe drinking water and sanitisation should also be the top priority
        • Monitoring and vigilance committees be set up to tackle grievancfes
        • Women representaties
  • Response
    • Specific actions by govt and people together
    • Disctrict adm may take help of Army
    • Generally begins with search and rescue but focus quickly shifts towards basic humanitarian needs of the affected
    • This assistance may be provided by national or international agencies

Post Disaster Phases

  • Recovery
    • Implementation of actions to promote sustainable redevelopment following a disaster
    • Long term measures like rebuilding of houses, assets and infra and focusses on returngin the infra system to minimum operating standards
  • Rehabilitation
    • Implies activities that are undertaken to support the victims retuern to normalcy and re- integration in regular community function
    • Temporary housing, public utilities and economic rehabilitation through livelihood recovery and finding alternatie employment options to those who can’t go back
    • Also includes Psycho- Social Rehabilitation for the traumatisesd
  • Reconstruction
    • Attempts to return communitites to Improved Pre- Disaster functioning
    • Includes replacement of buildings, Infra and lifeline favcilities so that long term development prospects are enhanced rather than deproducing the same conditions which made the are or population vulnerable in the first place
    • Or replacement of buildings, infra in a way that Reduces the vulnerability to a future disaster
    • Eg Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI)
      • # Smart city # AMRUT
      • New York – catastrophe bonds to counter against storm surge
      • Highlight how governance and civic planning failure have intensified crisis


  • 1990s Separate wing in
  • 1999 – Super Cyclone

Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • NDMA under PM,
    • Instititutional Mechanism for drawing up and monitoring
    • Approving Disater Management Plan
    • Coordinating with states – SDMA – State plan
    • Support to other countries
  • SDMA under CM


  • SDMA very crucial
    • CAG – Uttarakhand had a dysfunctional one – heavy losses in Kedarnath
  • DDMA
    • Under DM – Write this in Ethics, etc
    • District Plan
    • Ensures that EACH office in the district makes up plans
    • Implementation of the plans
    • PROCURMENT of essential resources
    • Creation of Community Links
    • Connects with the Army
  • NEC (National Executive Body )
    • headed by home secretary
    • Looks up at implementations
    • Too powerful – can direct states – Federal
    • Plus conflicting role with National Crisis Management Committee ( NCMC) under CaBinet Secretary
    • CAG – Did bot meet even once between 2008 and 2012
    • Hence, 2nd ARC has called for removal of the body
      • Counter – NEC under Act of Parliament
    • Other issues – Bureaucracy rules the roost
    • Similarly SEC
  • Also NIDM – national Institute of Disaster Management for
    • capacity building
    • Reseach
  • NDRF set up
    • Formed out of Paramililtary
    • Only Specialist force in world – Highly trained, quick response
    • Role – 3 Rs, Plus capacity development, etc
    • CAG – Praised their role
    • But still, army needed as a last resort
    • Issues
      • Funds
      • Dual governance
      • Perks, salaries poor
      • Treated as subordinate forces
      • DO not have an Air wing of their own
      • Most states not formed SDRF
    • Suggestions by 2nd ARC
      • SoP for deployment
      • Fill up Vacant positions
      • DG shhould be given the power to transfer
      • States be incentives to set up SDRF
    • 14th FC
      • CSR funds for NDRF
      • Also called for creation of SDR Fund with 90% contribution from the center
  • Provision for National Disaster Mitigation Fund
  • The Central Government can issue directions to any authority (union or state) to assist in disaster management.
  • Any officer or authority shall have to make available such manpower as requested by NEC, SEC or DDMA.
  • Actions taken under this law will be immune from court challenges.
  • 2nd ARC about NDM and Federal Issues
  • De Centralisation required
    • DM Act, 2005 NDMA under PM with National Executive Commitee with Home secretary as a head
    • Have powers not only to coordinate but also to direct a state , lay down guidelines and cause implementation
      • It is best if certain functions of disaster management are centralized while others are decentralized down to the lowest level.
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Immediate rescue and relief


Provision of resurces and some coordination


Coordination role

Repository of Best practises, Science and tech facilities, Capacity development

Early Warning systems

Funds and logistical support

    • Disaster be graded to clearly identify the appropriate authority/ level of administration
    • Fire and Civil Defence under NDMA ( currently states )
    • NDMA be given powers so that state complies
  • Role of Local Self-Governments
    • Local bodies are closest to the people but too small in their reach and capabilities to lead the response operations on their own.
    • State govt – should enact legislations to provide a more streamlined role under the overall leadership of the District Adinstration
    • Committee in Large cities
      • 2nd ARC – committee under Mayor, Municipal Commissioner and Commissioner of Police
      • Because Municipalities have the capacity to provide such relief
  • Funds Disbursal
    • CAG – NDMA not disbursing funds to Uttarakhand SDMA – Floods of 2013
    • Flexibility to District Administration
      • 2nd ARC recommends giving flexibility to concerned officers to requisition resources and services quickly including from private
      • At the same time, provision against misuse must be made more stringent
  • Power to order states
    • NEC too powerful
    • NDMA though be given the power to enforce its orders
  • Role of Collector and Administration
    • 2nd ARC
      • Handling of disasters should be made a criterion for promotion of officers
      • Unity of command as seen at the district level with DM should continue at all levels – Collector should be given total command
      • Planning
        • Dynamic plans at District Level in consultation with all stakeholders
        • Stress Testing of plans through periodic drills
        • Plans must integrate plans of PRIs and ULBs and should actively consider demands of vilnerable – women, elderly, disabled
        • SOP should be provided at district and community level
        • Third party audits
        • Evaluation of every plan after disaster
      • All records pertaining to licenses, permission must be brought in the public domain
      • At same time, It must be remembered that plans are no substitute for sound judgement at the time of crisis.
  • Other issues related to SDRF , etc

National disaster Management Policy, 2009

  • 4 themes – Write this in any general answer on Disaster
    • Community based DM
    • Capacity development in all spheres
    • Conslolidation of past best practises
    • Cooperation of agencies at nation and iternational level
  • CAG report on Uttarakhand
    • SDMA ws virtually non functional
    • No State Disaster Management Plan
    • National guidelines of NDMA were not adopted
    • Helicopter landing zones not demarcated
    • NEC meeting infrequent
    • Money under Disastar Fund diverted for other purposes
    • Recommendation of Expert committee on glaciers ignored
    • State fund did not funds for SDMA for th eyear 2011 -12 because SDMA did not provide details


Only eight states had prepared Emergency Action Plans for 192 large

dams against the targeted 4728 large dams in 29 states as of

September 2011.

  • Role of Precise Information by augmenting the capability of IMD
    • The reports of IMD have always been very imprecise like “heave to very heavy rainfall in some areas in Uttarakhand”. No one has any idea of what heavy to very heavy means.
    • The prediction accuracy and forewarning capabilities of IMD need to be increased. Apart from quantifying the amount of rainfall, spatial distribution information should also be given.
    • World over such systems are in place and even in our country such systems are in place for cyclones

Civil Society and local community – DM

  • Conventional Role
    • Mobilisation of Manpower
    • Damage asessment at local level
    • Mobilisation of funds for relief
    • Mobilisation and Channelisation of funds for rehabilitation
  • Challenge
    • Mostly in During Rehabilitaiton .
    • Limited role in prevention and adaptation
    • No regulatory role of NGOs to define a code of conduct and establish meaningful mechanism
    • 1993 Latur earthquake – Many NGOs – Cross Purposes- so much so that govt intervention became difficult – as multidude of opposing information
  • Can work
    • Traingin staff
    • Information dissemation
    • Project monitoring
    • Community KITCHEN
    • Post Disaster -Recovery, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction
  • Overall
    • Involve more NGOs
  • ALSO include CIVIL DEFENCE forces

Corporate Sector

  • Affected – economic losses, Manpower, Hindrances
  • And they themselves create disatsters – Industrial Disasters
  • Issues out of Survey
    • More than 90% of Indian SMEs not suffficiently prepared for disasters
    • 6% firms – Operation does not return back within 24 hours – Recovery
    • Most firms don’t have backup for IT – Wannacry
  • What they should do
    • Prevention
      • Capacity building
      • Following rules and guidelines themselves
      • Periodic Mock drills – for themselves and other
      • Joining hands with NGOs – TATA – Gujarat – Bhuj earthquake
      • Using technical and managerial expertise for monitoring and
      • Work with govt
    • CSR – PMNRF – One of the highest
    • Adaptation
      • Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction
      • Community Infra, Relief, Livelihood – FICCI in Bhuj earthquake
        • Craetion of Schools, Panchayat Bhavans
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The Finance Mechanism

  • Schemes for financing expenditure on disaster management are governed by the recommendations of the Finance Commission. 
  • Under the existing scheme, each state has a Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) administered by the Chief Secretary. The size of the corpus is determined with reference to the expenditure normally incurred by the state on relief and rehabilitation over the past ten years. 
  • In case the funds under CRF are not sufficient, State Governments can seek assistance from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) – the approval for which is granted by the High Level Committee of Ministers. 
  • Delay to Uttarakhand SDRM – floods – CAG
  • Both these funds, as the names suggest, are meant for relief and rehabilitation and do not cover either mitigation or reconstruction works, which have to be funded separately. Similarl is PMNRF. Hence, SC has recently asked for the creation of National Disater Mitigation Fund to mitigate the danger

CAG Report on Uttarakhand’s Preparedness

  • It pointed out that the SDMA had remained virtually non-functional. 
  • The state had also failed to incorporate disaster prevention into the development planning. 
  • No thought was given to the fragile ecosystem of the state in the developmental planning process. 
  • Buildings were permitted on floodplains of the rivers.
  • Such unsafe construction is linked to the religious tourism. Why can’t we adopt policies of Bhutan where tourism is regulated to bring it in harmony with the environment?
  • Construction of hydel dams require rivers to be diverted through tunnels to generate power. The construction of these tunnels unsettles the mountainous terrain and contributes to a greater quantity of rocks and sediment crashing down.
  • Also quesstions role of Dams and Mining activities
  • The disaster management plan was in place but its implementation was absolutely poor.
    • The communication system was also inadequate, with the delay in sharing of disaster information. 
    • Absence of any guidelines meant the preparedness was almost nil. The disaster struck on June 16 and rescue and relief operations could begin only on June 24 when the Army was called in. 
    • Until then the government had no clue. It had no idea about the magnitude of what had struck the state.
  • Role of Precise Information by augmenting the capability of IMD
    • The reports of IMD have always been very imprecise like “heave to very heavy rainfall in some areas in Uttarakhand”. No one has any idea of what heavy to very heavy means.
    • The prediction accuracy and forewarning capabilities of IMD need to be increased. Apart from quantifying the amount of rainfall, spatial distribution information should also be given.
    • World over such systems are in place and even in our country such systems are in place for cyclones.

Role of Info

  • Prexise info – CAG -IMD
  • Seismic Survey – 2nd ARC – erathwuake
  • Tsunami – EWS – Also for earthquke- Japan
  • International Info – Nepal, China
  • Role of Local People and Private – Skymet

Traditional Knowledge for Disaster Management

  • If tribals in the Andamans could survive the tsunami, it was because their existing warning systems worked well in comparison to our non-existent modern systems. 
  • The fact that traditional houses of wood and stone survived the Uttarkashi earthquake not so long ago while modern buildings collapsed offered a similar lesson. 
  • In the flood-prone rural North-East, one can find houses on bamboo stilts that allow flood waters to flow under them rather than through or over! 

National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). This is the first ever national plan prepared in the country.

Key facts:

  • The plan aims to make India disaster resilient and reduces loss of lives.
  • Comprehensive
    • The plan is based on the four priority themes of the “Sendai Framework, –
      • Understanding risks, Disaster Givernane strenthencin, Enhancing resilience, Disaster Preparednes
    • The plan covers all phases of disaster management: Prevention, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.
  • Planninf for Sr and LR- 5, 10, 15 years .
  • Govt machinery
    • Divides role of every level of govt Horizontally and Vertocally
      • Vertically right up to Panchayat and Urban local body level in a matrix format.
      • Horizontally Every ministry different role – Eg Ministry of Earth Sciences – Cyclone
      • In a way, does satisfy, 2nd ARC – Disaster being grade and role specified
    • Role of govt
      • Positive – Role against Cyclone Phailin, Hudhud
      • Negative – Firework in Kollam, Kerala where DM’s order were not executed
    • The plan has a regional approach, which will be beneficial not only for disaster management but also for development planning.
  • Framework – SoP
    • Framework for Disaster Management
    • Checklist for Agencies
    • 2nd ARC – says more – Audit, Transfer, Stress Test
  • Media / Information
    • ethical guidelines for the media
    • media to respect the dignity and privacy of affected people.
    • Also, in a move aimed to stop rumours and spread of panic, the plan directed the authorities to schedule regular media briefing (depending on the severity of the disaster) and designate a nodal officer for interacting with the media on behalf of the government.
  • Integrate Armed Forces in Disater Management
    • JalRahat Exercise in Assam
  • Includes role of local communities
  • Focusses on RECONSTRUCTION – to build back better
  • Regulars like Training, Capacity building and International best Practices Consolidation
  • Issues / Way Forward
    • No fixed goals/ Time frame as in Sendai or SDG
    • Does nit talks about funds
    • Role of corporates not institutionalised
    • Role of traditional Tech missing
    • Silent Disaster INSURANCE
    • Does not talk about the special vulnerabilities of women, old, etc
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About Sendai Framework:

  • The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Successor to Hyogo framework (2005-2015)
  • The Sendai Framework is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement
  • 7 targets and 4 priorities for action.
  • 4 Priorities
    • Undeeratanding Disaster Risk
    • Strengthenign Disataster Governance
    • Invetsing in Risk Resiliance
    • Enhanceing Disasater preparedness

The Seven Global Targets:

Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030,

aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.

Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030

, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.

Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP)

by 2030.

Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure

and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.

Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries


Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems


Substantially increase no of countries with plan


Global Pltform for Disaster Risk Reduction – Most imp foru for international DM protection

  • Research
    • 2nd ARC – NDMA assisted by NIDM should create a platform to integrate S&T institutions/ firms with govt agencies
    • Strengthen NIDM (National Institute of Disaster Management
    • Disaster Management as a subject should be introduced
    • To create a PROFFESIONALISED base
  • Deforestation
    • NIDM on the case study of Mumbai floods
      • Anti environment programs main reasons
      • Deforestation on 1k acre for rea estate
      • Course of Mithi river diverted
      • 750 acres of mangrove wetland filled
  • Civil Defence
    • What ?
      • Voluntary organisation – presently of about 6 lakh people
      • To provide support measures like fire fighting, casualty service, transport service mainly against any hostile act
      • Is meant for whole of India but actually active in vulnerable areas from security perspective
      • 3 tiered structure
    • Problems and recommendations
      • Disaster management not explicitly mentioned
      • Make it active in the disaster prone areas
      • 6 lakh too less
        • < 30% of target
        • In west, 1%
        • 2nd ARC recommends to do it within 5 years
      • Budget be increased
  • Home guard is also a similar body to similar the police force with 5 lakh members and operate in all states except Kerala
    • Difference with Civil Defence is that when on duty hoe guards have power like a police force and are paid for it
    • 2nd ARC recommends having disaster relief training for home guards, having minimum education qualification and giving them para millitary training
    • UPDATE – Civil Defence mandate has been increased to cover DM
  • Vulnerability of women to disasters
    • Why
      • Less mobility especially for pregnant women
      • Lesser say in decision making
      • Stay behind to search for their children and family members
      • Less education – also practical knowledge like swimming, climbing trees
    • Case study – Study on 2004 Tsunami
    • Way out – 2nd ARC
      • Pre
        • Mitigation, planning – say of women
        • Train women Volunteers in large no
      • During
        • rescue should have special focus on women – 2nd ARC suggestion – so can easily say so – Also for Old, Children, Disabled
      • Post
        • Camp managing committees should have adequate number of women representatives.
        • In the recovery phase, efforts should focus on making women economically independent.
        • In reconstruction works, women SHGs be prioritised
  • Other recommendations
  • PK Mishra committee
    • Shortage of professionals in NDMA
    • Large no of officers – need Training
  • SC
    • Drought
    • National Disaster Mitigation Fund

SEE General stakeholders / departments –

Vision May 17 – 53 –

Health, Sanitaiton , Police, Fire, ULB, Meterological , Power , Telecom