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3) There has to be a change from focussing only on managing natural disasters to improving resilience. Comment in the context of India’s preparedness for disasters and its disaster policy. (250 words)

Topic–  Disaster and disaster management.

3) There has to be a change from focussing only on managing natural disasters to improving resilience. Comment in the context of India’s preparedness for disasters and its disaster policy. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India is highly vulnerable to various kinds of natural disasters. Climate change, environmental degradation and increasing stress on natural resources exacerbates the hazard potential of these disasters. In this light, it is important to know the focus of our country’s disaster management  and its preparedness, and deliberate on its shortfalls so that we could be better prepared.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion on the need to change our focus from disaster management to building resilience. It wants us to highlight India’s disaster preparedness and use it build our opinion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about India and its vulnerabilities to disaster- e.g India is prone to disasters. About 70% of its coastal areas are prone to tsunamis and cyclones, about 60% of its landmass vulnerable to earthquakes, and 12% of its land to floods.

Body-

  • Discuss India’s disaster preparedness. E.g There are few guidelines on construction in flood-prone regions, or even a map of safe zones; lack of forecast and alert systems infrastructure; risk management is still in its infancy; Few States have prepared emergency action plans for the over 5,000 large dams in India, with reports of just 200 dams having been covered so far; Mitigation projects for upgradation of the observatory network have barely commenced. The effectiveness of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been hampered by a shortage of trained manpower, training, infrastructure and equipment etc.
  • Discuss the need to revise our disaster policy- e.g Disaster norms are also skewed more towards rural areas, focussing on agriculture, fisheries, livestock and handicrafts from a relief perspective. Typically, after a disaster, revenue officials are responsible for visiting affected areas and identifying people for relief, in turn offering scope for misuse and corruption. In addition, any disaster relief will typically exclude anyone living in an unauthorised area. Such norms also exclude sharecroppers and agricultural labourers, while focussing only on small and big farmers. The former are also the ones excluded from the rural credit market, while facing significant risk from agricultural uncertainty; unlisted disasters which are not neatly bucketed in the specifications under the Calamity Relief Fund are restricted to a relief of 10% of the fund’s annual allocation etc.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.