Loss of hundreds of lives in Uttarakhand may result in a new scheme to provide funds to the state governments for disaster mitigation and management.
The Planning Commission, which has received brickbats for failing to have a separate section on disasters, is working on a new scheme that would provide funds to the state governments for mitigation of recurring disasters like floods.
As of now there is a National Calamity Contingency Fund under which money is provided for relief and rescue operations arising from disasters. “There is no scheme in which there is continuous flow funds for creating infrastructure to fight disasters and building community level disaster preparedness,” a senior plan panel official said.
The issue was discussed at a special internal meeting of the Planning Commission on Wednesday, called to find out better ways to minimise human and property loss because of natural disasters. A Central group on Uttarakhand disaster had found road infrastructure in Uttarakhand was very bad resulting in delay in providing relief.
A senior panel official said the home ministry, which deals with disasters, is keen to fund the state governments for better disaster management. “Disaster mitigation is least priority. We want to give some impetus to this neglected area of governance. The issue is under initial discussion,” the official commented.
A report of Comptroller and Auditor General earlier this year had poked holes in country’s disaster preparedness system.
But it was not enough to wake up the government from slumber. Only after flash floods creating havoc in the Uttarakhand, the government has stirred into action and a comprehensive policy is in the offing.
“We would submit our view to the Cabinet Committee on Uttarakhand headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” a panel functionary said.