Public Policy towards Disasters in India
Dr. Vinod Kumar
India is highly prone to disasters, and the country has experienced very severe disasters at regular intervals. The devastation caused by the Latur earthquake of 1993-94, the Orissa super cyclone of 1999, the Bhuj earthquake of 2001, and the widespread drought of 2002- 03 are still etched in public memory. More recently, while the Tsunami of December 2004 shocked the nation with its massive destruction and added to the list of serious natural hazards faced by the country, the financial capital of the country, Mumbai, became a mute spectator to unprecedented misery of its people for days together in the floods of July 2005 which also exposed the acute vulnerability of the big Indian cities to the wrath of nature. The national level disaster management plans/ policies formulated by the numerous expert committees do not seem to have translated to better management of disasters in practice. The approach to disaster management has so far been reactive responding to disasters after they occur. Not much attention has been paid to mitigation. Also, it seems that the important lessons that should have been learnt by the Government apparatus from the severe disasters in the past have been ignored, and some of the important realities in the Indian case have not got adequate emphasis from the policy makers. When we look at the relevant policy documents in India, it emerges clearly that the financing of post-disaster relief and rehabilitation expenditures has had the major chunk in the resources allocated by the Government for management of disasters over the years. The mitigation and preparedness measures, which have been financed by the Government, are limited mainly to prevention of droughts and floods only. On the other hand, there has been explicit and very significant dependence by the States on financial resources from multilateral development agencies for mitigation and preparedness measures with regard to all kinds of natural disasters. We find that the allocation of financial resources by the Government (especially the Central Government) for long-term measures for mitigation and preparedness has been very little, even during the last decade in which India supposedly has changed its approach towards disaster m
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Unique Paper ID: 157508

Publication Volume & Issue: Volume 9, Issue 7

Page(s): 402 - 412
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