With being the world’s second most populous country, India faces a lot of challenges in tackling the disasters that might strike her. India was expected to have learnt from the mistakes in her past. But the case isn’t so. Till date the Disaster Management of India is not as effective as it should have been for a huge country like India. All these ineffectiveness in technology has made Disaster Management in India an issue of ridicule. Earlier in the late 20th century due to lack of technology various disasters couldn’t be predicted in time, thus the people who were affected didn’t get any information about the disaster till they were struck by it. We can see the examples of floods across various states in India & the cyclones in Odisha. Had been there any modern weather forecasting and prediction systems, the people would have got knowledge about the cyclones and effective plans could have been placed for minimising the effect of disaster. But even till the date the country hasn’t progressed.
The lack of technology has led the country being unable to predict the heavy rains that caused the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. Even because of lack of trust on the weathermen because of the past failures in forecasting by weathermen the state administration didn’t issue any warnings to people about the rains. Technology also consists of latest machinery and cutting edge tools which India doesn’t pose. The govt. said in it’s budget about assigning 100 thousand crores for disaster management and mitigation purpose. This amount might seem to be very large but it is very small if we consider the whole country which has about 1.6 billion citizens living in it. Even the amount used for disaster management would be quite less because of the politics and corruption. So one can easily imagine what would be the impact when a disaster strikes India. Now even NDMA has no strategies for disaster management. After the rains and the series of cloud bursts in Uttarakhand, the Uttarakhand govt. declared that its state disaster management team didn’t have plan how to execute the rescue operation .If this is the case then there is no use of NDMA which said that it was not prepared to handle such huge disaster. Now back to technology. At the same time when India was busy in recovery of Uttarakhand, a similar disaster struck some European countries. But there the impact of disaster was quite less because of better planning & efficient disaster management.
The damage due to the floods & cloud bursts in those countries was very less. This show the ineffectiveness of India in tackling disasters. Now let’s shift our focus to the relief & rehabilitation in India. As compared to disaster management the relief & rehabilitation is better but not at par with other countries. Let us take an example. In 2011 Japan was struck with severe earthquakes, tsunamis & finally a nuclear crisis, but in Japan the relief and rehabilitation work was quite instant and the country came back to normal life within a month or so. Meanwhile, In India the series of floods & cloud bursts have disturbed Uttarakhand and even till today after 2 months relief work is going on. Who should be blamed for this? Only and only our govt. should be blamed. Had the govt. had been prepared for tackling this issue , today Uttarakhand wouldn’t have such devastation. Even the hand of politics cannot be neglected in Disaster Relief & rehabilitation. Parties often adopt strategies which would benefit them in next elections. They only think of their future & thus this leads to failure in disaster management. Had it been japan, life would have sprung back in a single week. With cities expanding and developing in an unplanned manner, there would be a great loss in case of a disaster striking such cities. For example unsafe building practices in rapidly growing urban settlements constitute one of India’s greatest challenges for disaster management.
A major earthquake in any of India’s densely and heavily populated cities in seismic zones would be catastrophic in terms of fatalities. Government of India has also launched various policies the implementation of NDMA under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The objective of the authority has been to lay down policies and guidelines for effective management, risk mitigation and prevention of disasters in the country. However, in Uttarakhand, people were caught unawares by the series of flash floods and landslides in the absence of any mitigation measure or early warning despite the state having a history of such disasters and the weathermen predicting about it. The post disaster relief response has been equally poor—more than 70,000 people are reported missing. NDMA was constituted under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to draft policies and guidelines on disaster management, approve and coordinate the implementation of plans for disaster preparedness and management at the Central, state and ministerial levels.
The authority is headed by the prime minister. However, in the past seven years, the authority has been ineffective in carrying out most of its functions. NDMA had initiated projects for flood mitigation and landslide mitigation at the national level in 2008. However, those projects have either been abandoned midway or are being redesigned because of poor planning. The projects to prepare national vulnerability atlases of landslides, floods and earthquake are also incomplete. Experts feel if such projects would have been implemented properly the damage in Uttarakhand could have been much less. The CAG report also highlighted several other loopholes in the functioning of NDMA. It said none of the major projects taken up by NDMA was complete even after seven years of its functioning.
The projects were either abandoned midway or were being redesigned because of initial poor planning. The major projects include producing vulnerability atlases for floods, earthquakes and landslides, national landslide risk mitigation project, national flood risk mitigation project and national disaster management information system. As per the CAG report, NDMA has also not been performing several functions as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act.
These include recommending provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation and recommending relief in repayment of loans or for grant of fresh loans. Besides, several critical posts in NDMA are vacant and consultants were used for day to day working. One can then easily say what would happen if India is struck by a major disaster. In layman’s language one can say that all these things have one message in common – THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT OF INDIA HAS BECOME AN ISSUE OF RIDICULE.
The time has come for the citizens to take action in their hands and perform their duties . If not now it’s never and in future India’s disaster management will always remain an issue of ridicule among the people of he world because of it’s inability to tackle issues & perform necessary actions.