Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss main role and mandate of NDRF. Also mention some issues. Conclusion. Way forward.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India created the National Disaster Management Authority under which is an agency called National Disaster Response Force was established in 2009 in Delhi. This agency focused on disaster management and specialised response to natural and man made disasters.

Role and Mandate of NDRF:

  1. Specialised response during disasters through a proactive response.
  2. Proactive deployment of forces and community during impending disaster situations.
  3. Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills towards disaster mitigation.
  4. Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills wrt possible disasters and post-disaster management.
  5. Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  6. Community Capacity Building Programme for building capabilities of communities to fight in disaster time.
  7. Organise Public Awareness Campaigns about disaster management and safety during the disaster.
  8. To fight all natural disasters including radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear disasters.
  9. Conduct search and rescue operations in the event of any natural catastrophe.

Issue in NDRF:

  1. The effectiveness of the NDRF has been hampered due to lack of trained manpower and an absence of systematic training facilities and equipment.
  2. A country like India which is disaster prone, there is a need to have a comprehensive planning and implementation.
  3. It is deprived of necessary funds and infrastructure from the Centre. A major reason for the delay is the unavailability of personnel is that the remuneration is not attractive enough.
  4. There is great ambiguity in the control and command structure. While the MHA controls funds and execution, the NDMA has administrative control over the force. This results in a tussle between the two. Since the NDMA is an autonomous body with members appointed by the government, the force has to deal with two bosses for everything complicating and delaying processes.
  5. Most of the states are largely lethargic in creating a disaster response mechanism as mandated by the Disaster Management Act of December 2005. Till now only 16 States have taken some action, and only six states have a modicum of a structure so as to deal with disasters. Of these, Odisha alone has raised an ultra-efficient force which, collaborated with the NDRF, efficiently controlled destruction during the recent cyclones there.

Since its inception NDRF has continued to win hearts of millions of countrymen, by demonstrating its expertise and compassion while handling disaster situations. Issues like finding should be resolved by the government. Currently, a National Calamity Contingency Duty (NCCD) is levied to finance the NDRF and additional budgetary support is provided as and when necessary. A provision also exists in the DM Act to encourage any person or institution to make a contribution to the NDRF. However, this source has not yet been tapped.