COVID-19- A Notified Disaster
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs recently declared the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘notified disease’. This would enable the provision of assistance to SDRF.
SDRF or State Disaster Response Fund is the state governments’ primary fund for responding to notified disasters. It was constituted under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. For the general category states, the centre contributes 75% of the funds while for special category states, it contributes 90%.
A disaster is defined under the act as follows: “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area”.
Some of the disasters covered by the SDRF are: cyclones (eg: Cyclone Hudhud), floods (like the Kerala floods, 2013 Uttarakhand floods, 2015 Assam floods etc.), hailstorms, tsunamis, droughts, landslides, avalanches, pest attacks etc.
As the COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a notified disease, some of the provisions that will be applicable are:
- 4 lakh INR as compensation for each deceased person (including those involved in relief work).
- Cost for hospitalisation to be in accordance with rates fixed by state governments.