NEW DELHI: The Centre has put Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on top of its agenda with allocation of over Rs 28,000 crore for 2020-21 towards meeting disaster losses of states, half of which will be dedicated to disaster mitigation. Close to $2 billion in dedicated DRR funds annually is a new concept with the Centre gradually moving towards compensating states more on building disaster resilience than just providing for relief and rehabilitation.
Disaster losses have increased over the years and so have the reconstruction and rehabilitation of displaced population. The recovery cost of Kerala disaster (2018 floods), for instance, has been estimated at Rs 31,000 crore, whereas of Odisha (2019 cyclone Fani) is Rs 29,000 crore. Annually, for the last 20 years, India on an average, has suffered economic losses of $10 billion to disasters. Now, for the first time, based on the 15th Finance Commission recommendation, the government has allocated huge funds for DRR that aims at building resilient infrastructure and enhance mitigation efforts.
“It is also for the first time that the government has constituted National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) which will combine both response, mitigation and long term recovery, including capacity building” said Santosh Kumar, head of governance division at the National Institute of Disaster Management, Union Home Ministry.
Similarly, the states will have Sate Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF). In the next financial year starting April 1, the SDRMF have found an allocation of Rs 28,983 crore as per the recommendation of the finance panel. The Centre has contributed Rs 22,184 crore towards its share, which is 114% more than the Rs 10,344 crore provided for SDRF (State Disaster Risk Fund) in the previous year, Kumar said.
Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune with population of five million and above and facing flood risks have been allocated Rs 500 crore for DRR by enabling them to build integrated flood management infrastructure in each of these cities. An allocation of Rs 100 crore each for the three metros of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata have been recommended and of Rs 50 crore each for Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune.
In yet to be notified rules for disaster mitigation, it will be difficult for states to demand anything in terms of relief and rehabilitation in a post-disaster scenario. “The Centre has proposed a mandatory joint study, post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), in case of disasters of rare severity for allocation to states for reconstruction and rehabilitation,” said Kumar. This will also help India build an authentic database for disaster losses, he added. The PDNA will cover economic losses and estimation of funds needed for recovery and reconstruction of different sectors, including housing, infrastructure and livelihood. The Home ministry will issue detailed guidelines by July 2020 for recovery and reconstruction assistance.
It has also been proposed that all the 10 Northeastern and Himalayan states will undertake DRR programme to address earthquake and landslide risks. These states have been provided with an allocation of Rs 150 crore from the proposed NDMF for seismic and landslide risk reduction programmes in the coming fiscal year. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will get Rs 50 crore each.
Another major disaster loss is from fire incidents for which the government has provided Rs 1,000 crore for building fire safety infrastructure across the country. The NDRF will also provide Rs 1,200 crore for mitigation measures to prevent coastal and river erosion and also towards resettlement of displaced people.


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