New Delhi, May 21 : The Centre has asked all State Governments and Union Territories to step up their preparedness by advance planning and deployment of human, physical and financial resources ahead of the South West monsoon season.
In an annual conference of Relief Commissioners and Secretaries to review Preparedness for South West Monsoon-2019 at Vigyan Bhawan on Tuesday, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said that the Centre would provide all possible assistance under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) besides mobilisation of Central Forces.He also said the Centre had released more than Rs 7,000 crore under SDRF and an additional Rs 10,000 crore under NDRF last year to the States for Disaster Relief.
Mr Gauba called upon the States to undertake capacity building of urban local bodies, State Disaster Response Force, Fire Service and Civil Defence since they are the first responders during a calamity and urged the States to increase coverage of farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana crop insurance scheme to provide immediate relief to farmers in the event of natural disasters.
“During the recent Cyclone Fani, the loss of human lives was minimal due to accurate and early weather forecasting by India Meteorological Department (IMD) and timely mobilisation of resources besides better coordination among Centre, State Governments and other relevant agencies that resulted in mitigating the hardships caused by the cyclone, Mr Gauba said.
Referring to a United Nation Report that the disasters had caused economic losses of 3 trillion US dollars globally during the last two decades, the Home Secretary called for building Disaster Resilient Infrastructure as a long term measure to minimize the economic losses.
In the conference he also informed that the Government has sanctioned additional Battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and new Battalions are being set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi NCR. The IMD Director General KJ Ramesh said India has set a new benchmark in Disaster Risk Reduction as demonstrated during the recent cyclone Fani.
NDMA member Dr DN Sharma said that India has been able to reduce deaths due to natural disasters substantially. “While 385 people had died last year due to natural disasters, the figure came down to 195 this year and NDMA has come out with the Urban Flood Management Plan in 2015, which can serve as a template for tackling monsoon flooding. The NDMA provides Rs one Lakh to each district to conduct mock disaster prevention and awareness exercises.
Speaking at the occasion,NDRF DG SN Pradhan said that prediction, prepositioning of resources and proactive partnerships among various stakeholders are crucial for effective countering of natural disasters and the NDRF is committed to optimum deployment and will work in close coordination with the States to tackle various disaster situations. UNI