Disaster Management Act, 2005: Key Features

Disaster Management Act, 2005: Important Dates

  • Passed by Rajya Sabha 28 November 2005
  • Passed by Lok Sabha 12 December 2005
  • Assent of the President received 09 January 2006
  • Came into force on 28 July 2006
  • Applicability extent of the Act: whole of India (including Jammu & Kashmir)

What is the objective of the Disaster Management Act?

The objective of the Disaster Management Act is to ensure effective management of disasters and matters connected with such disasters.

Key Features of the Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • The legislation comprises of 79 sections and 11 chapters.
  • It ensures effective implementation and monitoring of disaster management plans.
  • It provides for a three tier structural system to manage disasters with NDMA at the national level, State Disaster Management Authorities headed by Chief Ministers at the State level and District Disaster Management Authorities at district level.
  • The legislation also envisages responsibility on the central government to constitute National Disaster Response Fund and National Disaster Mitigation Fund.
  • For the purpose of specialist response to an emergency disaster situation which is threatening, provision related to constitution of the National Disaster Response Force has been envisaged in the legislation.

What is the meaning of “Disaster” under the Disaster Management Act?

Section 2 (d) of the Disaster Management Act defines “disaster” as any catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area caused naturally or by human intervention resulting in significant loss of life, destruction of property, degradation of environment or any other damage which is beyond the coping capacity of the community wherein such disaster took place. Such a damage may be a result of accident or negligence.

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What is the meaning of “Disaster Management” under the Disaster Management Act?

The term “disaster management” is defined in Section 2(e) of the Disaster Management Act and it is defined as the continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordination and implementation of measures essential or expedient for—

  1. prevention of disaster related danger
  2. prevention of any disaster threat
  3. mitigation of any disaster
  4. risk reduction of disaster’s severity or consequences
  5. capacity-building and preparedness to combat disaster
  6. rapid response to any threatening disaster situation
  7. to assess the magnitude of effects of any disaster
  8. rescue, relief and evacuation
  9. rehabilitation and reconstruction

What is the legal implications violating any provision of the DM ACT?

Chapter X (Section 51 to 60) of the Disaster Management Act deals with the subject of offenses and penalties. The Act provides for civil and criminal liabilities for those who violate the provision of the Act. Provisions for Imprisonment for a term up to two years or fine, or both, have been envisaged in the legislation as legal implication for violating any provision of the DM Act.

Disaster Management Authority

Disaster Management Authority works as a three-tier system. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the apex body.  Then comes the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) at the state level. Under SDMA, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) works at the district level. Key features of each of these authorities are as below.

  1. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
    1. Chairperson: Prime Minister
    2. Members: Maximum of 9 members including Vice Chairperson.
    3. Tenure of Members: 5 years
    4. Responsibility: To lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management in order to ensure timely and effective response to disaster.
  2. State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)
    1. Chairperson: Chief Minister
    2. Members: Maximum of 8 members nominated by Chief Minister
    3. Tenure of Members: As prescribed by State Authority
    4. Responsibility: To lay down policies and plans for disaster management in the State.
  3. District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)
    1. Chairperson: Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner
    2. Co-Chairperson: Elected representative of the local authority
    3. Members: State may prescribe appointment of a maximum of 7 members.
    4. Responsibility: To act as the district planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management. It has to take all necessary measures for the purposes of disaster management in the district as per the guidelines laid down by the National Authority and the State Authority.
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National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)

National Disaster Response Fund is managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster. Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act deals with NDRF.

On the similar lines, State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) is also constituted at the state level. It is the primary fund available with the state to combat notified disasters (Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves). The central government allocated 75% of SDRF for general category states and 90% of SDRF for special category states and union territories.

National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF)

The Disaster Management Act provides for constitution of a National Disaster Mitigation Fund for projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation, for example, measures aimed at reducing the risk, impact or effect of a disaster or threatening disaster. This fund has not been set up yet.