The Supreme Court of India has directed the central and state governments to formulate a national plan for disaster management to provide relief and rehabilitation to those affected by calamities.
On April 5, the order was passed by a bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh while hearing a petition by the petitioner-in-person – Gaurav Kumar Bansal. Bansal had submitted that as per section 11 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, a ‘National Plan’ had to be drawn up by ‘National Executive Committee’ but the same had not yet been done.
Section 11 of the Act provides:
Section 11 – National Plan
(1) There shall be drawn up a plan for disaster management for the whole of the country to be called the National Plan.
(2) The National Plan shall be prepared by the National Executive Committee having regard to the National Policy and in consultation with the State Governments and expert bodies or organisations in the field of disaster management to be approved by the National Authority.
(3) The National Plan shall include–
(a) measures to be taken for the prevention of disasters, or the mitigation of their effects;
(b) measures to be taken for the integration of mitigation measures in the development plans;
(c) measures to be taken for preparedness and capacity building to effectively respond to any threatening disaster situations or disaster;
(d) roles and responsibilities of different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in respect of measures specified in clauses (a), (b) and (c).
(4) The National Plan shall be reviewed and updated annually.
(5) Appropriate provisions shall be made by the Central Government for financing the measures to be carried out under the National Plan.
(6) Copies of the National Plan referred to in sub-sections (2) and (4) shall be made available to the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India and such Ministries or Departments shall draw up their own plans in accordance with the National Plan.
Upon such a contention, appearing for Union of India, V Mohana submitted that there is a policy, but the plan has not yet been finalized and that the same may be drawn up within eight weeks.
In relation to the ‘State Disaster Management Plan’ to be framed as under section 23 of the Act, court sought information from the states in relation to presence of such plans. In regard to ‘District Plan’ as under section 31 of the Act, court directed the National Disaster Management Authority to communicate to the concerned Chief Secretaries of the States where the districts in respect of which the plans have not been drawn up and to see to it that the plans are drawn up.
Petitioner-in-person Bansal had also filed an application with a prayer for “formulation of a concrete National Plan to deal with the post disaster situation that has social and economical impact, especially in respect of the people who belong to socially extremely vulnerable sections including agriculturists”. On such a prayer being made, court issued notice to the central and the state governments.
Matter has been adjourned to 20 July 2016.
Read complete order here.