Answer Synopsis 13/01/2021

Question : Disaster management in India has undergone change throughout the years from relief centric to proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness oriented approach. Discuss the evolution of this new approach and how has this been put into effect?

Structure of the answer

  • Give a short description on Disaster Management.
  • Point out the structural evolution in approaching the disasters by India that is from reactive approach to proactive approach.
  • Bring out also the how this new approach has been put into effect.


Disaster Management Act, 2005, defines “disaster management” as a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for:

  1. Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster;
  2. Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences
  3. Capacity-building;
  4. Preparedness to deal with any disaster;
  5. Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster;
  6. Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster; evacuation, rescue and relief;
  7. Rehabilitation and reconstruction

Paradigm shift in Disaster Management

  1. There was a paradigm shift from the erstwhile relief centric response to a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness-driven approach.
  2. The new approach is obtained from the conviction that development cannot be sustainable unless disaster mitigation is built into the development process.
  3. This paradigm shift underpins that disasters can be managed through adequate planning and preparedness for response
  4. The new approach also originates from the belief that investments in mitigation are much more cost effective than expenditure on relief and rehabilitation.

Evolution of the Responsive and Preparedness Approach to Disaster Management

  • The repeated occurrences of disasters compelled the Government of India to take cognizance of the objectives of International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-2000), Yokohama
  • Strategy for Safer World (1994), and the Plan of action for Safer World (Istanbul, 1996).
  • Consequently, the High Power Committee on Disaster Management (HPC) was set up in 1999 to recommend strategies for Disaster Management Plans.
  • Until 2001, the responsibility of Disaster Management was with agriculture Ministry. Following a recommendation of the HPC, it was transferred to Ministry of Home Affairs in 2002.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established in 2005.
  • Disaster Management Act was passed in 2005.

How has been this changed approach put into effect?

  • Institutional changes
  • Proclaiming policy
  • Legal framework
  • Mainstreaming mitigation into Developmental process
  • Funding
  • Specific Schemes addressing mitigation
  • Preparedness measures
  • Human Resource Development
  • Community participation

In a nut shell this all around change has helped in a better handling in disasters and helped to save many lives and has reduced the economic drain.

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