The world over Disaster Preparedness or Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is becoming the most prominent theme for Disaster Management. It is not possible to eliminate the possibility of disasters. However, with due care and proper preparation, the risks and damages from disasters can be reduced considerably. India is prone to various natural and manmade disasters. The country has faced several devastating disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and river floods in recent years. Accordingly India was one of the pioneering countries to establish a three level disaster management institutional set up. Considerable time has elapsed since the enactment of the DM Act in 2005.
Governments at the central and state level have initiated various mitigation projects. There are also several internationally aided projects for disaster risk reduction being carried out in the country. Institutional set ups at the national, state and district levels have been formed. The nodal ministries responsible for DRR work have been designated for various manmade and natural disasters. Therefore, it is the right time to assess the level of preparation in the country to manage disasters.
In this audit, we found that despite considerable progress in setting up institutions and creating funding arrangements, there are critical gaps in the preparedness level for various disasters. The system which came into effect post the DM Act 2005 is yet to achieve its desired impact. The National Disaster Management Authority which was conceived as the apex planning and supervising body, was found ineffective in its functioning in most of the core areas. It neither had information and control over the progress of work at the state level nor was it successful in implementation of various projects. Coordination between NDMA and nodal ministries for various disasters need to be improved. Roles and responsibilities amongst the apex bodies at the national level need to be clearly specified.