National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP)

On June 1, 2016, Prime Minister released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). This is the first ever national plan for disaster management prepared in the country. The vision of NDMP is to make India disaster resilient, achieve substantial disaster risk reduction, and decrease losses of life, livelihoods and assets, by maximizing the ability to cope with disasters. It has aligned broadly with the goals set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Background: DM Act, 2005

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has laid down the framework for institutional and coordination mechanism for the effective disaster management at all levels: national, State, district and local. As per DM Act, 2005, multi-tiered institutional system consisting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by the respective Chief Ministers and the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) headed by the District Collectors and co-chaired by Chairpersons of the local bodies have been created.

As per the DM Act 2005, the National Plan is expected to include the following aspects:

  • Measures for prevention or the mitigation of disasters and their effects
  • Measures for the integration of mitigation measures in to the development plans
  • Measures for preparedness and capacity building to effectively respond to disasters
  • Roles and responsibilities of different Ministries or Departments in respect of measures with respect to the three aspects mentioned above.

Salient features of the NDMP

  • The plan has tried to provide a comprehensive framework and direction in all the four phases of disaster management cycle viz. Prevention, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.
  • It has taken inputs from DM Act, 2005; National Policy on Disaster Management (NPDM), 2009 as well as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
  • It gives importance to minimize, if not eliminate, ambiguities in the responsibility framework. It has attempted to clearly specify who is responsible for what at different stages of disaster management.
  • For each hazard, national plan incorporates four priorities for action under the Sendai Framework. The four priorities are: Understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to mange disaster risk; Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience and Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response.
  • NDMP covers disaster management cycle for all types of hazards – both natural and human-induced. The plan has incorporated a chapter on ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance’. It also provides the framework for mobilization and coordination of the central ministries, departments and other agencies. It also specifies the devolution of responsibilities between central and state government in managing disasters. Similarly, the ministries are also assigned specific roles. For instance, the Ministry of Earth Sciences has been given the responsibility for Cyclones.
  • NDMP also identifies major activities like early warning, dissemination of information, fuel, medical care, transportation, evacuation, search and rescue etc. It has identified greater need for information, education and communication activities to prepare communities to cope with disasters. It primarily lays emphasis on training, capacity building and incorporating best international practices.
  • The plan calls for ethical guidelines for the media coverage of disasters. It wants the media to respect the dignity and privacy of affected people. It has also incorporated provisions for regular media briefings and requires nodal officer for interacting with the media in order to stop the spread of rumours.

Questions & Answers

  • What is Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30)?
  • Critically analyze the NDMP.
What is Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30)?

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted at the Third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan, on March 18, 2015 as the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

  • It is a non-binding agreement. Signatory nations are expected to comply on a voluntary basis. India is a signatory nation to this framework.
  • Sendai framework provides the way forward in the domain of disaster management till 2030. It also aims for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.
Critically analyze the NDMP.

Although the NDMP has been designed as a dynamic document which needs periodic improvement in tune with the emerging global best practices in disaster management, yet there are few defects in it. Firstly,   it has not laid down a clear and practical roadmap. The identification of activities for disaster management and disaster risk mitigation are too generic. Secondly, the plan has not a given a clear time frame for carrying out the activities given in the plan. It instead has prescribed that the activities must be carried out in short, medium, mid- and long- term basis. Thirdly, NDMP has neither projected the requirements of funds nor provides how the funds shall be mobilized for carrying out the activities mentioned in the plan. Fourthly, it is silent about monitoring and evaluation of the plan. Fifthly, the activities mentioned in the NDMP are not new and they have already been mentioned in the Act and the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) since 2007. Lastly, unlike Sendai Framework, the NDMP does not set any goals or targets, nor it has explicitly provided how the Sendai goals shall be achieved. Thus we can conclude that NDMP needs to be supplemented with clear goals, targets, and time frames in order to achieve the vision of disaster resilience.