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The concept note on the possible role of insurance will be finalized soon once suggestions from state governments, ministries and other agencies are received. Photo: Mint
The concept note on the possible role of insurance will be finalized soon once suggestions from state governments, ministries and other agencies are received. Photo: Mint

Govt to enhance forecasting capabilities to tackle natural calamities

The govt decides to set up a committee to enhance its forecasting capabilities and preparedness when disaster strikes

New Delhi: After two major disasters struck the country recently—the floods in Uttarakhand and cyclone Phailin, which affected Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the government has decided to set up a committee to enhance its forecasting capabilities and preparedness when disaster strikes, said M. Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The committee will be headed by the secretary of the ministry of earth Sciences (MoES) and will focus on the calamities where there is no or little early warnings such as earthquake, flash floods and urban floods, Reddy said. He was addressing a press conference after NDMA’s 5th meeting chaired by the Prime Minister at his residence.

Ministries have also agreed to allocate a part of their budget towards disaster management. “The details like what minimum percentage of their annual budget will be earmarked is yet to be worked out, but it’s a good beginning," Reddy said.

Acknowledging that the first casualty in case of calamity is communication infrastructure, a committee will be formed to provide satellite telephones to all the Himalayan states.

The government will also make “multipurpose multi-disaster shelter homes" in the states more prone to natural calamities.

One hundred and forty nine such shelters will be made in Odisha, 137 in Andhra pradesh and 50 in West Bengal. To fund such projects, a national disaster mitigation fund (NDMF) will be set up. “We will also get assistance from the World Bank," he said.

The concept note on the possible role of insurance will be finalized soon once suggestions from state governments, ministries and other agencies are received.

The home ministry is also working towards setting up a “single-number disaster helpline", Reddy told.

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