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Disaster Management Act

Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

Disaster Management Act:


Context:

Invoking the Disaster Management Act, the Centre has ordered States that all liquid oxygen, including the existing stock with private plants, should be made available to the government and will be used for medical purposes only.

The order was issued by the Union Home Secretary, who is the Chairman of the National Executive Committee under the DM Act, 2005.

 Implications:

  • Supply of oxygen will now be prohibited for industrial purposes, except for nine industries that include the pharmaceutical, petroleum, nuclear energy and steel sectors.

About Liquid oxygen:

  • It is the liquid form of molecular oxygen.
  • Liquid oxygen has a pale blue color and is strongly paramagnetic: it can be suspended between the poles of a powerful horseshoe magnet.
  • Because of its cryogenic nature, liquid oxygen can cause the materials it touches to become extremely brittle.
  • Liquid oxygen is also a very powerful oxidizing agent: organic materials will burn rapidly and energetically in liquid oxygen.

Uses:

  • In commerce, liquid oxygen is classified as an industrial gas and is widely used for industrial and medical purposes.
  • Liquid oxygen is the most common cryogenic liquid oxidizer propellant for spacecraft rocket applications, usually in combination with liquid hydrogen, kerosene or methane.

Previous orders:

On April 22, the Centre issued an order under the DM Act making the district magistrates and senior superintendents of police personally liable to allow unhindered inter-State movement of vehicles carrying medical oxygen and to ensure that the supply is not restricted to a particular State where the oxygen plant is located.

About the Disaster Management Act, 2005:

  • The stated object and purpose of the DM Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
  • It came into force in India in January 2006.
  • The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson.
  • The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Authority.
  • All State Governments are mandated to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).

Powers given to the Centre:

Power bestowed by DM Act on Central Government and NDMA are extensive.

  • The Central Government, irrespective of any law in force (including over-riding powers) can issue any directions to any authority anywhere in India to facilitate or assist in the disaster management.
  • Importantly, any such directions issued by Central Government and NDMA must necessarily be followed the Union Ministries, State Governments and State Disaster Management Authorities.
  • In order to achieve all these, the prime minister can exercise all powers of NDMA (S 6(3)). This ensures that there is adequate political and constitutional heft behind the decisions made.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is DM Act?
  2. Bodies established under this act.
  3. Composition of NDMA.
  4. Powers of states and centre under DM act.
  5. What is a notified disaster?
  6. Functions of NDRF.
  7. About Liquid oxygen and its uses.

Mains Link:

Is the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ill-suited to be the main economic law of the country? Analyse the need for a pandemic law in the current situation facing the world.

Sources: the Hindu.