Disaster Management Act 2005 – GS Mains Paper -1 (HPAS Mains)

By | June 27, 2024



The National Disaster Management Act, 2005 (NDMA) is a comprehensive legislation. DM Act was enacted in the wake of 1999 Odisha super-cyclone and the 2004 Tsunami. There are 79 sections and 11 chapters in the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The Act also calls the Ministry of Home Affairs the nodal ministry overseeing the nation’s comprehensive disaster management.

DM Act defines a disaster as a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence” arising from “natural or man-made causes” that result in substantial loss of life, destruction of property, or damage to the environment. Currently, there are 12 categories of disasters which are notified under this Act. These are cyclones, drought, earthquake, fire, floods, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, and frost and cold waves.

The objectives of the Disaster Management Act of 2005 (DM act 2005) are given as follows:

1. The act aims to establish an efficient disaster management system for the country in the event of natural and man-made calamities.

2.The legislation empowers the central government to declare all or a portion of the nation impacted by a disaster and to develop preparations for mitigating the disaster’s “risks, consequences, and effects.”

3.This Act also gives the federal and state governments the authority to create various authorities at respective levels to seek out such management in the event of a disaster to achieve this goal.

4.It covers other things like capacity-building, relief measures, and mitigation methods.

5.Section 6 – the NDMA act 2005 is given authority to create national plans for disaster management. It also ensures that the state’s disaster management agencies carry out the strategy.

6.Section 10 gives the National Executive Committee (NEC) the authority to direct governments in actions that should be taken.

7.Section 33 states that the District Authority may direct any district-level officer, department, or local authority to take such actions to prevent or lessen the effects of disaster. The department or officer in question is required to follow the directive.

The DM Act 2005 mandates the creation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA act 2005), which the Prime Minister of India would head.

Apart from the Chairperson, it can consist of other members, at most nine, as the central government prescribes. The term of the members would be five years. The authority can also constitute an advisory committee consisting of experts in the field of disaster management to make various recommendations on different aspects of disaster management.

The National Executive Committee comprises various members, including:

The Secretary to the Government of India is responsible for the Ministry or Department overseeing disaster management and serves as the Chairperson. The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and other Central or State Government officials. The Secretaries to the Government of India in the relevant Ministries or Departments are also part of the committee.

Similarly, in state, The State Authority’s ex-officio Chairperson is the Chief Minister of the State (in case of states) Other members must be proposed by the Chairperson of the State Authority, not to exceed eight One of these nominees to serve as the State Authority’s Vice-Chairperson, The Chief Executive Officer of the State Authority is also the Chairperson of the State Executive Committee.

National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF):

The NDRF was constituted under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.It supplements SDRF of a State, in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in SDRF.The allocation of funds under NDRF and SDRF is based on the recommendations of the successive Financial Commissions. For NDRF, the entire contribution in the fund comes from the Central Government. In order to provide NDRF with an additional source of income, the Central Government has established the processes for receiving contributions/grants from any individual or institution for disaster management purposes.


The SDRF constituted under Section 48 (1) (a) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters. The Central Government contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States/UTs and 90% for special category States/UTs (NE States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). SDRF shall be used only for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims affected by notified disaster. Disasters covered under SDRF are – Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.

Local Disaster:

A State Government may use up to 10 percent of the funds available under the SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters that they consider to be ‘disasters’ within the local context in the State. These disasters are not included in the notified list of disasters of the Ministry of Home Affairs subject to the condition that the State Government has listed the State specific natural disasters


The ongoing spell of extreme heat in many parts of the country has once again reopened discussions on the inclusion of heatwaves as one of the notified disasters under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005.

Increased Frequency of heat waves

In the last 15 years, however, both the severity and frequency of heatwaves have increased. Due to increased economic activity, there is a far larger number of people who have to remain outdoors for their livelihoods or other reasons, exposing them to the risk of a heat-stroke. There are 23 states, which are vulnerable to heatwaves

Heat Action Plans

States have prepared heat action plans (HAPs) to deal with the impacts of extreme heat. HAPs involve activities like creation of shaded spaces, ensuring availability of cool water in public places, distribution of simple oral solutions, and reorganizing the schedules of schools, colleges and office working hours. These measures require expenditure but state governments have not been able to use the SDRF for them. This is the reason for the demand for inclusion of heatwaves as a notified disaster in the DM Act.

Reasons for not including Heat waves in DM Act:

1. Finance Commission Reluctance

States have put the demand of including heat waves as a notified disaster before the last three Finance Commissions. The 15th Finance Commission, whose recommendations are currently being applied, said the existing list of notified disasters “covers the needs of the states to a large extent” and did not find merit in the request to include heatwaves. But it endorsed an enabling provision created by the preceding Commission that allowed states to utilize at least a part of the SDRF money — up to 10% — for “local disasters” such as lightning or heatwaves, which states could notify on their own.

Using this new enabling provision, at least four states — Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Kerala — have added heat waves as local disasters. The Centre has so far resisted demands to notify it as a national disaster, using the Finance Commission as an excuse.

2. Practical Difficulties

It will lead to a potentially huge financial implication for the government as they have to provide monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakh for every life lost because of a disaster that is in the notified list. Grievous injuries also have to be compensated. Heatwaves claim a large number of lives every year. This year, more than 500 heat-related deaths have already been reported. Once the government is mandated to provide compensation, a larger number of deaths could be revealed.

3. The problem with attributing heatwave deaths

In most cases, heat itself does not claim lives. Most people die due to other pre-existing conditions, made worse by the impact of extreme heat. It is often difficult to ascertain whether it was heat that made the difference.

Argument for Inclusion of Heat Waves

On the other hand, inclusion as a notified disaster can improve the management of heatwaves. Heat-related illnesses and deaths would be better reported Authorities would be more alert to minimize the impacts of heatwaves.

Implications of including disaster in DM Act

If the inclusion occurs, states will be able to use disaster response funds to give compensation and relief, as well as a variety of other actions related to heatwave management. The provisions of the DM Act can be invoked. The provisions allow states to draw money from the two funds that have been set up under this law — the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) at the national level and the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) at the state level. The states first utilize the funds available in the SDRF, and only if the magnitude of the disaster is unmanageable with the SDRF, states seek the money from the NDRF.

In the FY 2023-24, only two states drew money from the NDRF

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  4. Issues and Challenges, Programmes and Policies for the Welfare of Differently-Abled Persons, Women and Children in Himachal Pradesh – HPAS Mains
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