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Source: The post is based on the article “Lightning not a natural disaster, says Centre” published in The Hindu on 17th July 2023
What is the News?
The Union Government is not in favour of declaring Lightning a natural disaster as deaths caused by it can be prevented by making people aware of safety steps.
What is Lightning?
Deaths due to Lightning:
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data show that 2,880 people died in lightning strikes in 2021.The deaths made up 40% of all accidental deaths caused by “forces of nature”.
The frequency of lightning was the highest in northeastern States and in West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar.
But the number of deaths is higher in the central Indian States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Steps taken to prevent Lightning deaths:
India is among only five countries in the world that has an early warning system for lightning — the forecast is available from five days to up to three hours.
Is Lightning categorized as a Natural Disaster in India?
Currently, Lightning is not categorized as a Natural Disaster in India.
Several states have been demanding that lightning deaths be covered as a natural disaster. Once this is notified, the victims will be entitled to compensation from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).The Centre makes 75% of the contribution to the SDRF.
Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslip, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold wave are now considered disasters under the SDRF.