The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) set up after the 2004 tsunami to help deal with disasters is practically headless and has vacancies in key posts.
But as the Centre spends a sleepless night over possible inundation in several districts of Bihar, sources stressed the absence of the NDMA vice-chairman and its members — who often exceeded their brief during disasters — would not affect relief and rescue measures.
NDMA vice-chairperson Shashidhar Reddy and other members had resigned a month after the Modi government came to power in May. There has been no word on their replacements. The Prime Minister is the NDMA chairman but it is the vice-chairman who is the functional head.
A government source attributed the vacancies to a proposal to restructure the authority that had the mandate to work on guidelines and policy for disaster mitigation and lay down priorities. “Disaster response was not its mandate but it often became the public face of the government’s efforts,” a government source told HT.
“There are problems with the existing NDMA structure... A decision needs to be taken on the task force’s recommendations before these posts are filled,” the source said.