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Disaster Management Act

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 26, Mar 2022
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Since March 24, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been issuing orders and inguidelines for the containment of Covid-19 under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Under what section of The Disaster Management Act has the MHA been issuing orders on containment measures for Covid-19?

It is under Section 10 of The Disaster Management Act that the Union Home Ministry has been issuing guidelines for the containment of Covid-19.

Section 10 of The Disaster Management Act deals with the powers and functions of this national executive committee.

  • This section also empowers the National Executive Committee to lay down guidelines for or give directions to, the concerned Ministries or Departments of the Government of India, the State Governments and the State Authorities regarding measures to be taken by them in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.

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.