National Disaster Management Authority – UPSC

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was formally constituted on 27th September 2006 under the Disaster Management Act 2005. It’s an apex statutory body of the Government of India, which lays down the policies for disaster management in the country. NDMA works under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It is responsible for laying down the guidelines and best practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) to ensure a holistic & distributed approach to disaster management.


In December 1989, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared the 1990s as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), which called upon the nations to formulate the national disaster-mitigation programs & insurance policies for disaster prevention and to integrate them with their national development programs.

In recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, the Indian Government set up a High Powered Committee on Disaster Management under the chairmanship of J. C. Pant in August 1999. This committee was set just before the supercyclone in Odisha in 1999. The J C Pant Committee recommended establishing the Ministry of Disaster Management, but it did not come into action.

After the Gujarat Earthquake in 2001, the Government set up a National Committee on Disaster Management under the chairmanship of the Prime minister for making recommendations on the preparation of disaster management plans and suggest effective mitigation mechanisms. This committee recommended the creation of the National Disaster Management Authority under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007) document also had a detailed chapter on Disaster Management for the first time.

However, after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, the Government of India decided to enact a law on disaster management to create an institutional mechanism for formulating and monitoring the implementation of disaster management plans.

In December 2005, the Indian Government enacted the Disaster Management Act 2005, which provided the creation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, to spearhead and implement a holistic & integrated approach to Disaster Management in the country. Initially, NDMA was set up in 2005 by the Executive Orders of the Government of India. Subsequently, the NDMA was finally established in 2006 under the provisions of the Act.

Composition of NDMA

  • NDMA consists of a chairperson and has up to nine other members.
  • The Prime Minister of India is the ex-officio chairperson of the NDMA.
  • The chairperson of NDMA nominates the other members of NDMA.
  • The chairperson also designates one of the members as the vice-chairperson of NDMA.
  • The vice-chairperson of NDMA has the status of a Cabinet Miniter, whereas the other members of NDMA have the status of a Minister of the State.

Vision of NDMA

The vision of NDMA is to build a safer and disaster-resilient India by developing a holistic, pro-active, technology-driven, and sustainable development strategy, which involves all the stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness, and mitigation.

Objectives of the NDMA

  • To promote the culture of disaster risk prevention, preparedness, and mitigation at all levels through knowledge, education, and innovation.
  • To encourage effective mitigation measures based on traditional wisdom, technology, and environmental sustainability.
  • To ensure the efficient mechanism for the identification, assessment, and monitoring of disaster risks.
  • To mainstream disaster management into the developmental planning and processes.
  • To develop contemporary forecasting and early warning systems backed by responsive communication with information technology support.
  • To ensure efficient response & relief with a caring approach.
  • To undertake the reconstruction process as an opportunity to build disaster-resilient structures and habitats to ensure safer living.
  • To promote a proactive & productive partnership with the media & NGOs for disaster management.

Functions of the NDMA

  • NDMA formulates the plans and lays down the policies & guidelines for disaster management to ensure an effective disaster response.
  • It approves various plans, such as:
    • National Plan.
    • Plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Indian Government, in accordance with the National Plan.
    • Other Plans related to the National Plan.
  • NDMA lays down the guidelines to be followed by the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) in drawing up State Plan.
  • It also lays down the guidelines to be followed by different Ministries or the Department of Indian Government in order to integrate the preventive measure for disaster or mitigation of its effect in their development projects & plans.
  • It recommends the provision of funds necessary for the mitigation.
  • NDMA coordinates the enforcement and implementation of the policies & plans for disaster management.
  • NDMA provides such support, as may be determined by the Central government, to other countries affected by the major disaster.
  • It also takes other such measures, as it may consider necessary, for the preparedness & capacity building for dealing with threatening disasters situations and prevention of disaster.

Additional Functions of NDMA

In addition to the above function, the National Disaster Management Authority also perform the following functions:

  • It recommends guidelines for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by the disaster.
  • In cases of disasters of severe magnitude, it suggests relief of the payment of loans or grant of fresh loans on concessional terms to the person affected by such disasters.
  • NDMA also exercises the general superintendence, direction, and control of the National Disaster Response Force. NDRF has been constituted for specialist response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • It authorizes the concerned department or authority to make the emergency procurement of the provisions or material for rescue or relief in any threatening disaster situation.
  • NDMA prepares an annual report on its activities, which it submits to the Central government. The Central government further place it before both Houses of Parliament.

National Executive Committee (NEC)

Under Section 8 of the Disaster Management Act 2005. the National Executive Committee is constituted with Union Home Secretary as its ex-officio chairperson to assist the NDMA in performing its functions.

NEC has been given responsibility for implementing the policies & plans of NDMA and ensuring the compliance of directions issued by the Central Government for disaster management in the country.

  • National Executive Committee may also:
    • Act as the coordinating and monitoring body for disaster management.
    • Prepare the National Plan to be approved by NDMA.
    • Coordinate & monitor the implementation of the National Plan, etc.
    • Provide necessary technical assistance to the State government and authorities for preparing their disaster management plans in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the NDMA.
    • Perform other such functions as the National Authority may require it to perform.

State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

Disaster Management Act 2005 provided the creation of the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by their respective Chief Ministers.

Composition of the SDMA

  • SDMA consists of a chairperson and has up to nine other members.
  • The Chief Minister of the State is the ex-officio chairperson of the SDMA.
  • The chairperson of the State Executive Committee is the ex-officio member of the SDMA, who acts as the ex-officio chief executive officer of the SDMA.
  • The chairperson of SDMA nominates the other eight members of SDMA.
  • The chairperson of SDMA also designates one of the members as the vice-chairperson of the SDMA.

Functions of the SDMA

  • SDMA formulate the policies and plans for disaster management in the State.
  • It approves the State Plan following the guidelines laid down by the NDMA. It also approves the disaster management plans prepared by the departments of the State government.
  • SDMA lays down the guidelines to be followed by the departments of the state government for the purpose of integrating the preventive measures for disaster and mitigation in their development projects. It also provides necessary technical assistance thereof.
  • It coordinates and monitors the implementation of the State Plan.
  • It also suggests the provision of funds for preparedness and mitigation measures.
  • It reviews the measure being taken by the departments of the State Government for mitigation, preparedness, and capacity building for dealing with threatening disasters situations.

District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)

The Disaster Management Act 2005 also provided for every State government to establish District DisasterManagement Authority in every district of State.

Composition of the DDMA

  • DDMA consists of a chairperson and has up to seven other members.
  • The District Magistrate (or Collector or Deputy Commissioner) of the district is the ex-officio chairperson of the DDMA.
  • The elected representative of the local authority is the ex-officio co-chairperson of the DDMA.
  • But, in the case of Tribal Areas, as referred to in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, the chief executive member of the district council of the autonomous district is the ex-officio co-chairperson of the DDMA.
  • In districts where Zilla Parishad exits, the chairperson of that Zilla Parishad is the co-chairperson of the DDMA.
  • The Chief Executive officer of DDMA, the chief medical officer of the district, and the superintendent of police in the district are the ex-officio members of the DDMA.
  • The State government can appoint not more than two other district-level officers as members of the DDMA.
  • The State government appoints the Chief Executive Officer of the DDMA.

Functions of the DDMA

District Disaster Management Authority acts as the district planning, coordinating, and implementing body for disaster management. It takes all measures for disaster management in the district, following the guidelines laid down by the NDMA and SDMA. It performs the following functions:

  • DDMA prepare the disaster management plan, including the district response plan.
  • It coordinates and monitors the implementation of National Policy, State Policy, National Plan, State Plan, and District Plan.
  • It ensures the identification of district areas vulnerable to disasters. It also ensures the measures for disaster prevention and mitigation of its effects are undertaken by the government departments at the district level and local authorities.
  • DDMA organizes and coordinates the specialized training programs for different levels of officers, employees, and voluntary rescue workers in the district.
  • It also facilitates community training & awareness programs for disaster management with the help of local authorities and governmental & non-governmental organizations.
  • It set up, maintain, upgrade, and review the mechanism for early warning.
  • It identifies the buildings and places to be used as relief centers or camps if there is any threatening disaster situation. It then makes arrangements for water supply and sanitation in such buildings or places.
  • It performs such other functions as to assign by the State government or SDMA, or it seems necessary for the disaster management in the District.

National Institute of Disaster Management

In 1995, the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) prompted the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation to establish the National Centre for Disaster Management (NCDM). Therefore, NCDM was constituted under an Act of Parliament in 1995.

Till 2001, the responsibility of handling the disaster remained with the Ministry of Agriculture. NCDM was renamed as National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) by the Disaster Management Act 2005 and put under the Ministry of Home Affairs. In August 2004, NIIDM was officially inaugurated by Union Home Ministry. The subjects of disaster management were transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

NIDM has the mandate of human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority.

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