Kerala's disaster management policy recommends introduction of a disaster management tax and a natural resource depletion risk tax for risk transfer and risk sharing.
The taxes are proposed as feasible options for risk coverage in the policy, approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.
The policy suggests that the government explore a techno-financial framework consisting of a disaster risk insurance through appropriate insurance instruments, governed by effective regulatory frameworks including microfinance and micro-insurance.
It recommends that a Disaster Mitigation Fund and a Disaster Response Fund be constituted at the State and district level as per the provisions in the Disaster Management Act, 2005. State departments can allocate funds for prevention, mitigation and preparedness in their annual development plans.
The policy says that the State government will follow national building codes and other codes as laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards. Relevant departments, district administrations and local authorities shall ensure that existing building bylaws, land-use zoning regulations and development-control regulations correspond to the requirements for safe construction as laid down by various agencies.
Transfer of disaster-resistant construction technology to town planners, engineers, architects, builders and developers and masons shall be promoted by the government. Disaster-resistant designs and construction practices and retrofitting techniques shall be made part of university undergraduate courses in civil engineering and architecture.
Disaster management efforts shall take into account key elements such as knowledge management, networking (regional, national and international), promotion of results-based research and development and adoption of appropriate technologies that determine success in all phases of disaster management. Modern technology such as remote sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System) and GPS (Global Positioning System) shall be made use of in disaster risk reduction and crisis management to the extent possible.
The policy says that the State government will lay emphasis on pre-disaster activities such as prevention, mitigation and preparedness in line with the paradigm shift in disaster management. It shall issue specific guidelines and devise exact measures for implementation of state policy during various phases of a disaster in its State Disaster Management Plan.
Early warning mechanisms shall be instituted by the Department of Disaster Management to give advance warning and alerts for cyclones, floods, tsunami and other developments. Along with that, an Incident Command System shall provide a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communication under a unified command. Regional Response Centres of the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and the Civil Defence Institute shall be established in the State with the support of the Central government and the National Disaster Management Authority.
Keywords: Kerala disaster management policy