Union Home Secretary calls for capacity building to tackle disaster management of relief commissioners, secretaries of states and UTs held May 16, 2015 .

Union Home Secretary Shri L.C. Goyal calls for capacity building to tackle disasters Day-long annual conference on disaster management of relief commissioners, secretaries of states and UTs held

New Delhi, May 16, 2015

Union Home Secretary Shri L.C. Goyal has called for building capacity for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Forces (SDRFs) to tackle natural and man-made disasters effectively. Inaugurating the Annual Conference of Relief Commissioners/Secretaries Department of Disaster Management of States/UTs to review the status of preparedness for South West Monsoon 2015, here today, Shri Goyal said that the primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the state governments. Noting that only 21 states have constituted SDRFs, the Union Home Secretary said that he expected the other states to have similar setup at the earliest and that the 14th Finance Commission has placed adequate funds at disposal of the states for this purpose. On its part, the Central Government has already sanctioned two more battalions in addition to 12 existing battalions of NDRF, he added.

Pointing out that the three C’s,- Capacity, Coordination, Command & Control, – are the pillar stones of Disaster Management, Shri Goyal said that the role of Civil Society including NGOs has become critical in disaster management. He said that disaster management is joint effort and preparedness becomes critical in hour of crisis to tackle the disaster effectively. He called for the government authorities, civil authorities, NGOs and each and everyone to join in this real social service which is related to the saving of human lives. He said that every warning issued by the India Meteorological Department must be taken seriously whether it is big or small. Shri Goyal said that the flood situation due to Jhelum river in Jammu & Kashmir and Brahmputra in Assam cannot be tackled without periodic dredging. The Union Home Secretary also said that the annual conference should be held twice a year. After the annual conference, another conference should be held in October/November to review/assess the works done in this field.

In his address, Director General NDRF, Shri O.P. Singh said that during the Nepal earthquake, it was proven that the NDRF capacities are second to none as regard search and rescue methods and equipments is concerned in a situation where S&R teams from 34 countries were present. Pointing out that India is very vulnerable to natural disasters, he said that India loses $9.8 billion every year, out of which floods account for $7 billion.

Shri R.K. Jain Member Secretary, NDMA said that though we are now able to save more human lives due to floods, still more attention needs to be paid to minimizing loss to livelihood including livestocks.

Earlier Shri B.K Prasad, Additional Secretary, and Shri K.K. Pathak, Joint Secretary Disaster Management also addressed the conference. Relief Commissioners and Secretaries of department of disaster management of states and UTs, besides top officials of NDMA, IMD, ISRO, CWC, GSI, NIC, NDRF, NIDM and UNDP participated in the daylong conference.