A Disaster Management Plan needs to be a dynamic and actionable document, which needs to be updated and revised periodically. Keeping this in mind, the existing National Plan of 2016 has been revised enhancing it considerably improving the approach and adding new dimensions. We hope that the revised version will prove to be more useful and effective in addressing the difficult challenges of disaster risk reduction facing Ministries/ Departments of Central Government, States and UTs.
The revision of the existing National Disaster Management Plan 2016 started in April, 2017 with a consultative workshop. This was followed by several rounds of extensive consultations internally and with different stakeholders and experts from different domains. After 3-4 rounds of revision process, a final draft was also placed on the website of NDMA for one month inviting comments and suggestions from all stakeholders including common people and was also circulated to all Ministries / Departments and States / UTs for comments and inputs. Incorporating their comments and suggestions suitably the revised Plan was finalized and approved by Members of NDMA.
The hazard and vulnerability profile of India is now well known. India's proneness to multiple disasters caused by natural and human induced factors aggravated by climate change impacts pose many threats and challenges for communities and agencies involved in management of disasters. With the enactment of Disaster Management Act 2005 and adoption of National Policy on Disaster Management 2009, Government of India has established improved institutional arrangements and DRR mechanisms to deal with any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
In the year 2015, GOI adopted three landmark international agreements having bearing on disaster management:
(i) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in March 2015;
(ii) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2015-30) in September 2015; and
(iii) Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21), under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015.
These international agreements should not be seen in isolation. A sustainable development needs to be disaster resilient and be adaptive to climate change impacts. Keeping this in mind the revised plan has put special emphasis on establishing coherence between the three international agreements with special consideration to Ten Point Agenda on DRR, enunciated by Prime Minister during Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR (AMCDRR) in November 2016 in New Delhi. This will help all concerned stakeholders in central government as well as in States and UTs in striving to achieve the national goals.
Considering the significance of climate change impacts on frequency and intensity of disasters,
Climate Change Risk Management has been included as a new and sixth thematic area for disaster risk management in the responsibility framework, in addition to the existing five thematic areas, Understanding Risk, Inter Agency Coordination, Investing in DRR – Structural Measures, Investing in DRR – Non-structural Measures and Capacity Development.
It goes without saying that the Disaster Management Plan can be effective only if it is implemented in letters and spirit. For this there is a need to mainstream disaster risk reduction measures in developmental plans and policies by Ministries / Departments of Government of India and Governments of States and UTs. This plan will help in understanding the ways and strategies to mainstream disaster risk reduction in their plans and policies as it provides an understanding on the same in new chapter added in this plan on mainstreaming.
The revised Plan also puts special emphasis on making the Plan inclusive. We are aware that the impacts of disasters are felt more by some sections of the community, owing to their differential vulnerabilities and capacities due to physical, socio-economic and other reasons.
The revised NDMP has considered this aspect as well. A new chapter on Social Inclusion addresses special considerations and suggests measures considering gender-based vulnerabilities, conditions of SC/ST communities, the elderly, children and persons with disabilities. This will help other stakeholders too in making their disaster management plans inclusive.
In order to synchronise the National Disaster Management Plan with the post-2015 international agreements, 2030 has been envisaged as the ending year for long-term actions. The activities envisaged as short, medium and long term ending in 2022, 2027 and 2030 respectively, have been included in this revised Plan. While some of the actions are a continuation from the previous plan, for all practical purposes, the activities are concurrent with the three phases overlapping in most cases. All responsibilities of Central Government Ministries and Departments and those of State/Union Territories Governments have been placed with a definite time frame, which will start and go on simultaneously with different timelines of completion.
While utmost care was taken with dedicated efforts in making the revisions, a Plan will always have scope for improvement because of its dynamic nature. This version is an improvement over the earlier one and with more experience by implementing this Plan, we will get to know more insights to be incorporated in future versions. We hope that this Plan will help all concerned stakeholders in their efforts and initiatives towards building a disaster resilient community and country. Suggestions and comments are always needed and will be welcomed.
Dr. D. N. Sharma
Lt. Gen. N C Marwah (Retd)
G V V Sarma, IAS