Feb 23, 2022

What is India’s law on Disaster Management?

The Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority has confirmed that a massive wildfire has broken out in Dzukou Valley, a popular trekking destination on the Manipur-Nagaland border. The Indian Air Force has now engaged an Mi-17V5 helicopter to tame the wildfire, which is spreading fast due to strong winds and ambient dryness.


Which law governs disaster management in India?

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the effective management of disasters in India.


What is a ‘disaster’?

A disaster refers to a calamity, accident or serious occurrence in any area, which results in a substantial loss of life, human suffering, or damage to property or the environment. A disaster can arise from natural causes (like floods, earthquakes), man-made causes, or by accident or negligence (like gas leakages, chemical explosions). The nature and magnitude of a disaster is such that the community of people in the affected area would be unable to handle the disaster and its effects. 


What is disaster management?

Disaster management refers to a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary in order to deal with disasters. Disaster management broadly involves the following aspects:

  • Preventing or reducing the risk or impact of disasters
  • Capacity-building and preparedness to deal with disasters
  • Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation
  • Assessing the severity or magnitude of a disaster’s effects
  • Evacuation, rescue and relief
  • Rehabilitation and reconstruction of property after a disaster.


Which is the chief authority for disaster management?

The National Disaster Management Authority is the main authority for disaster management and it is established by the Central government. The Authority is responsible for laying down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management in order to ensure timely and effective responses to disasters. 


Further, every State Government establishes a State Disaster Management Authority for the State. 


The National Disaster Response Fund

The Central government sets up the National Disaster Response Fund for meeting the expenses related to any threatening disaster situation or disaster. The Central government can credit any amount to the Fund after the amount has been allocated by the Parliament. Further, any person or institution can make grants to the Fund for the purpose of disaster management. The Fund can be used for expenditures related to emergency response, relief and rehabilitation after a disaster, etc.