Context: The Centre has recently applied an unused provision in the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to allow any person or institution to contribute to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the purpose of disaster management.
More on the news:
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that it has “laid out the modalities for receipt of contributions/ grants from any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management” in the NDRF as per Section 46(1)(b) of the DM Act, 2005.
- As per the section, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a fund to be called the National Disaster Response Fund for meeting any threatening disaster situation or disaster and there shall be credited thereto—
(a) an amount which the Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf provide;
(b) any grants that may be made by any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management.
- The contributions can be made online or through physical instruments drawn in favour of “Pay and Accounts Office (Secretariat), MHA” at New Delhi.
- The MHA had invoked the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the first time in March this year in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The COVID-19 pandemic was notified as a “disaster,” paving the way for the States to utilise the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for treatment of patients and other logistics.
- These include quarantine centres, setting up laboratories among other things.
- Increment in allocated funds:The NDRF has been allocated Rs. 22,070 crore in the financial year 2020-21, up from Rs. 17,210 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal.
Supplementing State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)
- As per Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act,
- The “NDRF supplements the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF.”
- The States also have to submit utilisation certificates, pending which no future allocation is made.
- The fund is the primary available with State governments to meet the expenses of relief operations of an immediate nature, for a range of specified disasters.
- Contribution by the central government
- The Central government contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories,
- It is 90% for special category States (northeast States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir).
- The total corpus of the SDRF is Rs. 28,983 crore this fiscal, of which the MHA has also released its first instalment of Rs. 11,092 crore to all States on April 2 in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)
- It is defined in Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act) as a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
- Definition of a disaster:
- The DM Act defines "disaster" to mean -
- A catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area,
- Arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence
- Which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment
- Is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.
- Financing of the fund
- NDRF is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill.
- The requirement for funds beyond what is available under the NDRF is met through general budgetary resources.
- Utilisation of funds
- NDRF amount can be spent only towards meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation.
- For projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation, i.e, measures aimed at reducing the risk, impact or effect of a disaster, a separate fund called National Disaster Mitigation Fund has to be constituted.
- NDRF is located in the "Public Accounts" of Government of India under "Reserve Funds not bearing interest"
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audits the accounts of NDRF.
- Approvals from the fund:
- A high-level committee (HLC) approves the quantum of immediate relief to be released from NDRF.
- The HLC is constituted with the Home Minister, Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister and Planning Minister / Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog as members.
Image Source: TH