It overlooks significant aspects such as classification of disasters, declaration of disaster-prone zones, streamlining of responsibilities and involvement of local communities. (Karakas & Karma, 2014) In India, states are primarily responsible for handling disasters. The government of India supplements the efforts by extending logistics and financial support such as state calamity relief funds for immediate relief restoration of essential infrastructure and public assets in the social sector.
This Act provides a detailed action plan as in what to implement and execute right from the central government to the district to local government. This can be seen from the a national disaster management authority will function under the chairmanship of the prime minister and state disaster management authorities will be under the chief ministers and the district disaster management authorities under the district magistrates. Also importance has been given to the prevention and mitigation which is an important factor in disaster management.
This can been seen in the act where national institutes of disaster management will e set, which will be engaged in research, training of personnel for disaster management, building awareness. It also focuses on the restoration of essential services by providing minimum relief in terms of medicines, shelter, water, food, granting of loans. It speaks of a holistic effort through various wings of the government to ensure a prompt response to disasters. A chain of responsibilities or a range of responsibilities and duties are laid down to the local authorities.
This Act recognizes that the organizing and planning are the foundational factors so experts in the field of disaster management are drawn in the board as they eve the advisory capacity. (Karakas & Karma, 2014) (Ray, 2005) There are certain areas which need some deliberation the act refers to a “disaster” as “substantial loss” of life and property, again in section 13, it refers to “disasters of severe magnitude”. So differentiation between the two situations will be difficult and also another important aspect is that who will decide and then favoritism will certainly play its role in this aspect.
Another drawback of the act is that there is no classification of disaster and declaration of disaster prone zones which complicates the situation. So without the declaration there can be no pro- active role played by the state. Classification helps in assessing the extent of damages. The act provides for establishment of a number of statutory bodies such as the national disaster management authority, state disaster management authorities and district disaster management authorities, etc, advisory committees, executive committees and sub-committees under the government.
The establishment of so many committees and authorities does not seem to have a strong logical foundation. There are such overlapping duties found among arioso authorities in the act that they are bound to confuse people. Further, the coordination among these bodies appears to be very burdensome. This can be seen from the bill does not specify the minimum number of meetings. The local authorities, who probably have a valuable role to play, are barely mentioned in the act. There are detailed provisions regarding the functions of different authorities, including government departments.
In the case of local authorities, there are no such substantive provisions, but only a minor reference to taking necessary measures for disaster management. There should be a detailed responsibilities laid down for the local authorities and there should be more power given to the local authorities in order to conduct relief activities in a speedy manner as no disaster can be ever dealt with effectively only through administrative set-up, alienating the community as a whole.
The bill must include Nooks working at district level along with leaders of the village penchant and district penchant to carry out effective operations at the grassroots level. But unfortunately, the act entirely ignores this very important aspect in the process f excluding the community, the other important aspect which is missing in the Indian act is the recognition of traditional knowledge. This is needed because of the real examples where tribal in the Madness could survive the tsunami, it was because their existing warning systems worked well in comparison to our non-existent modern systems.
Another example where the fact that traditional houses of wood and stone survived the Trashiest earthquake not so long ago while modern buildings collapsed offered a similar lesson. The role of Nooks and civil society is not defined in the bill The bill has not emphasized he special needs of women, trial’s, and the other isolated and vulnerable sections of Indian society. Special needs of women, such as protection, care during pregnancy, and so on are not highlighted.
There is a need to give special attention to such groups, which suffer more than others. Another significant aspect of the act is that the actions of the national, state and district authorities as well as the central and state governments cannot be challenged except in the Supreme Court or the High court’s having respective jurisdictions. So by granting he officials such a high degree of immunity encourages them to indulge in activities which may go against the objective of the act. Hence, it affects people’s right to seek justice.
Conversely, it imposes punishment for false claims. Many studies, even in the context of the tsunami had clearly shown that many people have been excluded on the basis of caste, religion, etc, by the state in the relief and rehabilitation process. The act appears to have concentrated more on disaster management through government system rather than focusing on the fact that the affected communities also have a right to relief and obliteration as well as the right not to be displaced unnecessarily. Ray, 2005) (Karakas & Karma, 2014) So declaration of disasters or disaster-prone zones and classification of disasters should be a must. It helps in better management of progressive disasters also. The powers and functions of the various authorities and committees need to be worked out carefully so that there are not many overlapping areas. Trade unions, women’s cooperatives and voluntary agencies working among tribal and other disadvantages groups must be identified and included in the bill. Provisions of challenging the actions of the officials only in higher courts need to be removed.
There should be more involvement of local authorities and voluntary organizations regarding the ground level activities need to be stressed. There is need to identify the local groups, empower them and make them responsible for disaster management at local level. The bill must make a provision to build capacities outside government systems and actively support civil society initiatives such as developing local volunteers, coordination committees, pre-disaster mitigation measures, communication, Etc.