Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 10, 2023, inaugurating the 3rd Session of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR), said that the global appreciation for the work of the Indian rescue team in earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria recently has made every Indian proud.
NPDRR is a multi-stakeholder platform constituted by the Government of India to facilitate dialogue, sharing experiences, views, ideas, action-oriented research & explore opportunities in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction.
With the main theme of the event being ‘Building Local Resilience in a Changing Climate, Mr. Modi said the concept was a familiar one in Indian tradition and it is clearly visible in the wells, architecture and the old cities. In India, the system, solutions and strategy of disaster management have always been local, he said, giving the the example of Bhunga houses of Kutch that survived earthquakes to a large extent. He stressed the need to evolve local models of housing and town planning as per new technologies.
“Recognition and Reform are the two main components for strengthening disaster management,” he said.
Also Read | PM Modi chairs high-level meet to review preparedness for hot weather conditions this summer
While recognition will help in identifying the possible threats posed by natural calamities and when they will strike in the future, reform is a system where the threats of a possible natural calamity are minimised, he explained. He suggested improving the system by making it more capable in a time-bound manner and emphasized the approach of long-term thinking instead of shortcuts.
“We cannot stop natural calamities but we can definitely minimise its effects by putting better strategies and systems in place”, the Prime Minister remarked as he emphasised on adopting a proactive approach rather than a reactive one.
Disaster management experts will have to focus more on public participation, he said and stressed the importance of a continuous process of making people aware of the dangers of earthquakes, cyclones, fire and other calamities. He asked for a real-time registration and monitoring system using technology. “Knowledge on aspects like age of the houses, drainage, resilience of our electricity and water infrastructure will help in taking proactive steps,” he added.
The Prime Minister talked about the discussion on the hospital fires during his recent review meeting on the heatwave and how regular review of fire preparedness of the hospital can save lives.
Sea of change
Speaking at the event, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the time has come to increase the scale and speed of disaster management. Since the 1999 Odisha super cyclone, disaster management has undergone a sea of change and now early warning systems were in place, he pointed out. As many as 26 States and Union Territories were disaster-prone, and more than 50% of the population has been affected by natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis, heatwaves and floods.
Also Read |Analysis | A devastating quake in Turkey recalls the tragedies awaiting India
He added that ₹370 crore has been allocated for Aapda Mitra Yojana and that the youth have also been given an insurance package.
“Funds have been allocated for disasters. ₹13,700 crore is the Centre’s share, while ₹32,000 crore is to be contributed by States. ₹354 crore has been allocated for common alert system, through which people can be alerted of any impending disaster,” he said.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said one lakh youth are being trained under the Aapda Mitra Yojana.