Various government authorities have invoked their respective powers under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 to deal with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Delegation of Powers to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
- The powers exercised by the home secretary for being the Chairman of the National Executive Committee (NEC) under section 10 of the DM Act (2005) have been delegated to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare.
- Section 10 evaluates the preparedness at all governmental levels for the purpose of responding to any threatening disaster situation or disaster and give directions, where necessary, for enhancing such preparedness.
- It also lays down guidelines for, or give directions to, the concerned Ministries or Departments of the Government of India, the State Governments and the State Authorities regarding measures to be taken by them in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster
- Thus it majorly monitors and implements the national plan and the plans prepared by the ministries or departments of the central government and gives superintendence power to the officer executing plans.
- The delegation would help to enhance preparedness and containment of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Invocation of Powers by District Authorities:
- Some of the district authorities in the COVID-19 affected states like Maharashtra have also invoked power under the DM Act.
- The Act gives power to the district administration under Sections 33 and 34 to deal with any disaster-related situation.
- Under Section 33 and 34 the district authorities may opt for requisition powers for any officer or any department at the district level or any local authority to take measures for prevention or mitigation of disaster or to effectively respond to it and such officer or department is bound to carry out such order.
- This step will help to create awareness among the public regarding COVID-19 and will also help to regulate the medical supply of masks, injections and medicines, etc.
National Executive Committee
- A National Executive Committee (NEC) is constituted under Section 8 of the DM Act, 2005 to assist the National Disaster Management Authority in the performance of its functions.
- Union Home secretary is its ex-officio chairperson.
- NEC has been given the responsibility to act as the coordinating and monitoring body for disaster management, to prepare a National Plan, monitor the implementation of National Policy etc.
Also read: Rethinking Disaster Management