Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently inaugurated a two day National Level Conference on ‘Capacity Building of SDRFs-2017,’ which was organised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The conference was aimed at developing synergies between the responses of National & State Disaster Response Forces (SDRFs) and to highlight way ahead to strengthen the response capabilities of SDRFs.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh said that disaster has no geographical and physical boundaries, so we must think beyond boundaries for effective management of disasters. The Minister said that the primary responsibility to deal with disasters lies with the states, so the States should be prepared in advance to mitigate the risk related to disasters and take the necessary action. He emphasised the need to strengthen SDRFs by specialised training and equipping with latest gadgets and tools, improving bilateral and regional cooperation among states so that States can help each other at the time of disaster.
He also appealed to the States to modify and implement the best practices of other states in tackling disasters and added that the risks arising out of development shall also be taken into account and focus should not only be on mitigating the effects of disasters.
Singh further stated that the funds allocated to SDRF have increased from Rs 33,581 crore during 2010-15 to Rs 61,220 crore during the period 2015-20, thereby registering an increase of 82%. He also said that two additional NDRF battalions have been raised in Varanasi and Arunachal Pradesh to strengthen its infrastructure. He said that the assistance given under NDRF has been increased from Rs 3,461 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 11,441 crore in 2016-17, in case of a severe disaster where there is insufficient fund under SDRF.
Addressing the gathering, Dr P K Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, said that it is for the first time in the last few years that, such a national level conference is being organised with the participation of most of the States. He said that NDRF is not like any other force in the country, as it undertakes many exercises like mock drill, capacity building, community awareness programs, school safety programme, etc. He stated that unless the community is well prepared to deal with different kind of disasters, the response will not be that effective.
R K Pachnanda, DG, NDRF, said that India being, a very large country is vulnerable to many disasters such as 58.6% of the area is prone to earthquakes, 12% of the area is prone to floods and the coastlines are prone to cyclones. He emphasised the need to strengthen the capabilities of SDRF and provide them specialised training and latest equipment to better deal with disasters.