Interview Discussion- Day 14

Interview Discussion- Day 14


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Important Guidelines

  • In real interview one will never get much time to express, so try to visualize and then write succinctly.  Do not consider it an essay
  • Raise counter questions when reviewing others. This will broaden the dimensions as the same will happen in interview.
  • Counter questions will help in better expression as well as expose to various aspects one may have missed while writing. It will lead to better understanding of the issue.

The issue for discussion today is the following:

Disasters of all type occur in India on a regular basis. Every year thousands of people die in natural or man-made disasters.

Are we not prepared enough to tackle such disasters? Don’t we have the necessary wherewithal to create and run institutions that can control the damage caused by disasters? What exactly is wrong in the system? Can you suggest a framework for better disaster management?

  • Subhashini Sankar

    We have methods to tackle the disasters. But India is not implementing it properly. If implemented in a right way people might be safe or after a disaster their routine life can be recovered soon.

    • Puja

      Ok. So how do u ensure proper implementation of those methods?
      Also u hvnt said about wht is ur opinion about the new framework if any..

  • Gaurav


    India’s geographical dynamics places our nation into one of the most vulnerable countries which faces regular onsloughts of various disasters. For e.g 54% of land is vulnerable to earthquake, while 30% is prone to extreme drought.

    While India has made many gains in disaster preparedness, for e.g:
    1. We have the largest disaster response force and support of army
    2. A dedicated institutional mechanism in form of NDMA, SDMA and district crisis committee.
    3. Regular monitoring through space and timely warnings.

    However despite this, much needs to be done in following fronts:
    1. Co-ordination: due to multiplicity of authority, coordination becomes a major challenge which often leads to delay in response.
    2. Preparedness: CAG report in Uttrakhand flood cited lack of SOPs which again increased death toll.
    3. Mitigation: a culture of disaster awareness need to be inculcated which needs to be followed during planning, construction

    Recently our governement ratified Sendai framework which takes a life cycle approach to disaster response. This needs to be followed in letter and spirit.

    • Harishankar

      Bhai SOPs means…

      • santhi sweety

        standard of procedure

      • Gaurav

        standard operating procedures 🙂

      • Standard Operating Procedure

  • hpk

    India has the necessary plan for disaster management and mitigation . The National Disaster Management Plan designed as per the Sendai Framework is testimony to this .We also have the administrative 3 tier system to ensure delegation of management.

    But it is the poor implementation and lack of involvement of urban local bodies , multiplicity of command and poor public involvement which has led to poor disaster management

  • thevagabond85

    sir/ma’m , Disasters have been classically classified into two categories – natural & man-made. Off late, the boundary between two seemed to be running thin. The increasing frequency of rain but with less avg rainfall, prolonged drought, forest fires etc all seems to be natural but scientific studies have found their origin in anthropogenic activities. (The framework must take this into consideration.)

    What is exactly wrong in the system?

    India has done well in last few decades to build capacity to tackle disasters through legislative route(NDMA) as well as increased financial empowerment of local bodies. However, the institutional experience is yet to mature , there is a lot to be done in terms of building capacities of these institutions – human, technological, financial etc.

    Creating separate dedicated institution is not panacea for tackling disaster of such large magnitude which is creation of humans and faced by humans. The solution has to be holistic, and keep people at center by making them agent of change. Empowerment of local bodies thus becomes natural. Without people’s & community involvement recurring disasters like drought cannot be tackled. Without proper urban planning Chennai like flood have no permanent solution.

    Also, there has been proliferation in nuclear power plants, dams, chemical factories. To avoid another Bhopal gas tragedy like incident, a fair independent Impact Assessment should be done followed up by random inspection, with zero tolerance towards poor maintenance.

    The framework has to be multi-level : at international through sendai like framework will help resource mobilisation and sharing of best practices, at national level by better strategic planning and resource devolution e..g MSP rationalization which promotes water intensive crops, and at grass root level(decentralized approach) by community led programmes.

  • Sudhanshu Shekhar

    Disasters are an unfortunate inevitability. But what is in our hands is the mitigation of the same. There are institutions, technologies that can help in this regard. NDMA and guidelines, Early warning systems show that we have the wherewithal to mitigate the effects. We have done it in the past when the cyclone Phailin struck the coast of Odisha and AP in 2013.
    But the implementation of the guidelines is mostly lacking.
    1. Despite NDRF, most of the disasters had rescue operation conducted by the Indian Army.
    2. The proactivity is missing from the governance. Thus the city planning almost never keeps the future possibility of disasters. Thus flood plain encroachment becomes the norm.

    Thus to deal with the problem it is must that, guidelines on disaster management is followed, NDRF is provided with adequate strength with synergy between center, state and block units.
    Spraeding the awareness in disatster prone region such as landslide, avalanche, tsunami. Infrastructures such as cyclone shelters. Use of Army only as the last resort.

    • Puja

      U hv mostly talked about implementation of guidelines is the main loophole.. So do u believe if the guidelines of DM act n all r followed properly, we r fully prepared?? Wht about the emerging forms of disasters to India??

      Kindly chk my answer as well..

      • Sudhanshu Shekhar

        Madam, the disaster management plan and guidelines are in agreement with the SENDAI Framework which provides one of the most comprehensive way to deal with the disasters. We can not ensure 100% recovery but as far as full preparedness is concerned we can achieve that.
        Other than floods, landslides, avalanche, cyclones, etc, certain silent killers are emerging, such as pollution, health issues etc. These claim more life than any conventional type of disaster. To tackle these dedicated efforts are required. e.g. INDC for the GHG’s, research and Development in health fields to reduce the casualties arising out of dreadful disease.

  • sbt57

    Sir, I think our preparation regarding disasters is mixed. For example, our disaster preparedness for cyclone is much better than urban flooding (as evident form Chennai or Kashmir flood).

    I think we have all the necessary wherewithal to control damage due to disasters. If we can conduct free and fair election at such a mammoth scale in such a diverse country, disaster management is very much possible.

    I think most critical reason for our failure in disaster management is allocating responsibility and accountability at various levels-centre,state,ULBs etc.This issue is adequately discussed in Sendai Framework. Then there is problem of financing and expertise at the local level.

    A good framework for better disaster management should focus at the grassroot level.Hence, education curriculum should mandatorily have disaster management course. Additionally, ULBs and Panchayats in disaster prone areas should run awareness campaign. Most importantly, responsible consumption and sustainable development has to be kept in mind, as most disasters can be avoided with harmony with nature.

  • balaji subramanian

    Sir, India is highly prone to disasters and every year the disasters are on the rise. In response we have passed the National disaster management act , created National and state level institutions for disaster management.We have forces like the NDRF, the army and the necessary technologies to help disaster mitigation. So we are prepared and ready to control the damage caused by disasters.
    But this system has certain weakness
    Firstly the system focuses on damage control after disaster and disaster prevention is not given importance
    Secondly disaster management plans are made in a top down approach , so it doesnot respond well to the local requirements
    Thirdly there is clear cut responsibility mechanisms in management of disasters.. So passing the responsibility between different agencies is now common
    Fourthly rapid response to a disaster is absent mainly because of non recognition of disasters immediately as in case of Chennai Oil spill
    And finally poor coordination between various agencies like NDRF, the state police, Army, etc has also affected our disaster mitigation.
    So given this we can create a framework whereby proper guidelines and procedures for disaster prevention are enforced, zonal maps for disaster vulnerability are created,disaster management plans at district level are prepared , a nodal authority at district level is made responsible for coordination during disasters,
    constant mock drills among the agencies for various types of disasters are held, community participation in disaster management is encouraged for proper coordination and response during a disaster

  • Puja

    Sir, the frequency of occurrence of disasters r rising..
    GOI has enacted national disaster management act, 2005 to deal with such issues.. There r disaster management response forces at national, state n district levels with clear demarcation of responsibilities..
    Moreover with the advancement of newer technologies, disaster management is getting effective day by day, for example as we hv seen how early warning has saved orrisa from Philine..

    But still we can’t say that we r fully prepared.. There r areas which needs more attention..
    1. Lack of timely information n early warning between various stakeholders..
    2. Strict implementation of DM guidelines..
    3. More mock drills, citizen awareness can b the key for less damage..

    Sir for a better DM framework i would go for a “coordinated approach” in dealing the events.. Such as in case of Chennai oil spill, a coordination between IMO, ISRO satellite reports, environment departments, NDRF n other forces at various levels could make the issue less damaging..

    • PS

      coordinated approach is good point.

      decentraliised response e.g. strengthen district level teams,fire stations ,trauma centres,community participation

      more budgetary allocation to raise capabilities

      • Puja

        Thanks PS for ur valuable inputs..

        • PS

          i have edited some more points.

          • Puja

            I hv noted down all ur points.. Thanks for such detailed review..

        • PS

          we notice that often army is called because we lack sufficient batallions of NDRF..MORE IS NEEDED. I THINK REASON BEHIND IS LOW BUDGET.

    • PS

      lack of enforcement of BUILDING CODES by municipalties,encroachment of wetlands etc..CORRUPTION lead to disasters..

      UPAHAR CINEMA fire=negligence.

    • Sudhanshu Shekhar

      How will SENDAI F/W help in disaster mitigation? (factual but thats the catch. Try to explain in least number of words)

      • Puja

        Sir, india being a signatory to sendai fw,prepares its dm plans that aligns with the framework.. This way India try to follow the international standards to deal with such issues… Hence get access to better policy guidelines n related know how..
        But the success lies in the proper implementation which is yet to b achieved..

        • Sudhanshu Shekhar

          You can also add, SENDAI recognizes that state has the primary responsibility to reduce disaster risk , but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders such as local local government, private sector. This can significantly reduce the burden on government thus proper management.
          Understanding the risk is a priority area. Prior to this government’s action used to be reactive. But now studying and understanding the risk will make it reactive. Thus the lacunae that was faced earlier regarding ill planning of urban areas without due consideration to risks as in Chennai, UK, can be fixed.
          The Seven global target and four priority action presents a very comprehensive plan which is a first of its kind in this field.

          • Puja

            Thank u so much…

    • VKS

      further question could be…
      …” so puja.. there was incident of bridge falling in westbengal… which was a major disaster, who do u think should be blamed for it? .. if u were DM of that district what would have been ur course of action after disater? “….

      …”u must know that Damodar river was once called to be sorrow of Bengal… thankfully we built DVC… so tell me Puja,… why have Kosi still continue to be sorrow of bihar?.. how come we have not solved the problem by building Dam or anything ?..

      • Puja

        Sir for that bridge collapse incident all the stakeholders involved are guilty to some extent. The builders, developers compromised quality for own profit… various authorities didn’t pay attention to the standards and the delays caused time to time under successive governments. …. there is rampant corruption in such construction projects…, lack of any periodic monitoring authority…moreover the “blame game” between governments …so all r responsible.

        As a DM my course of actions would be–
        1. Personally visit the place n order for immediate rescue operation.
        2.set up enquiry committee on the project from scratch.
        3. Scrap illegal buildings in such congested locality.
        4. Initiate survey to such existing under construction projects in my area n take necessary action case by case in consultation with higher authorities to minimise such incidents in future..

        • VKS

          ur course of action are really good specially the fourth point ..

      • Puja

        Sir DVC was the 1st multipurpose dam project in independent India on 1948. The nature of the Damodar River which mostly runs through plateau and plain give some favourable condition for the success of dvc.also the right technical inputs and prompt response by government culminated into DVC on Tennesse model of usa.
        However, in case of Kosi, there r some unfavourable factors…
        1.the distinctive course of river from narrow, steep gorge to plain suddenly with huge water.
        2. Typical “Migratory Behaviour” of kosi moving westward though irregularly.
        3.technical in competencies to deal with huge sedimentation.
        4.lack of strong political will.
        5. Screwed land management.

        Kosi barrage is there but not successful. So it is need of the hour to bring the issue under NITI AYOG n NAPCC.

      • Puja

        First of all thank u for putting such good n relevant questions.

  • V Kumar

    Sir/ Madam;

    India is one of the most disaster prone country. The effect of disaster could turned in manifold if it is not being tackled effectively involving all stakeholder. Some disasters intensity could be reduced others effect could be managed. Some very common disasters in india are Cyclone Drought Earthquake Flood Tusanami, etc. Affect of disaster on poor and vulnerable people is very high.

    India is only country in world to have dedicated disaster response force. India is also ready to adopt Sendai disaster risk reduction summit and Asia disaster risk reduction conference outcome. However, India’s large population is still most affected with disaster. Actually we are not enough prepared to tackle disasters. India is diverse country and different part is affected with different kind disasters like northern belt is more affect with earthquake and flood. We need to make our houses earthquake prone and water harvesting should be mandatory with every house hold. Similarly Coastal region is prone to cycles so early warning system and dissemination of warning to people in time effective manner is most important.

    Disaster could not be tacked with on organization. We need to have well tested and functioning system. Central state local government along with NGOs and private parties need to coordinate to minimize effect. That system need mock drill and coordination for immidate response.

    To handle disasters we should adopt multi prong strategy. From Preventive to mitigation to coordination to response to rehabilitation all required. Prevention is long term process that need to emphasized and make people aware and become proactive. Mitigation required coordination among various agencies and modernization and mock drill of agencies. And finally rehabilitation and resettlement which required huge resources.

  • Chestnut

    Disasters have become more common than rare incidents at present time. We definitely have the resources to deal with such events like human resourcesin the form of NDRF , technological adeptness to predict and conduct search &rescue operations. But the concern lies on the fact that bureaucratic nature of handling such events in hierarchical process makes the efforts redundant and increases the no. of casualties. Moreover the mere creation of the force doesn’t ensure reduced disaster losses. Their training and capabilities are still not sufficient enough esp. in case of emergent disasters. E.g. many times Indian Army are asked to take up the command. What actually is the problem is the lack of immediate integration of different department in case of disasters. Even training the locals about life skills and educating the local community radio operators about the procedure to help the rescuers act more fastly. But besides the people the efficient working of govt will only result in dealing well with the ruckus among the people due to fear and keep calm
    and reduce the no. of deaths due to stampede etc.

  • Axi Tak

    India has National Disaster authority, first national management plan 2016, Indian ocean Tsunami Warning system to deal with the disasters but this is not enough. We need to do risk mapping, use satellites, proper use of social media and mobile technology alerting people at right time about the disaster zones around them and warning systems. Most important of all is community participation. We need to expand the scope of disaster risk reduction by taking in account
    1. Earthquake zones
    2. Flood Zones
    3. Infrastructure standards
    4. Awareness among people
    5. Urbanization (growth)
    6. Better insurance coverage

    PM’s ten point agenda for people including adaptation to climate change and sustainable development are positive steps towards disaster risk management.

  • VKS

    it is unfortunate that each year number of people die in various kinds of disaster, which indeed shows fault in our preparation… But we have some positive sides too like better cyclone prediction and good handling of Phalin cyclone is an example.
    sir,.. the problem lies at various stages.. like less focus on newly emerging disasters example city fllod, lack of coordination, instead of strengthening NDRF we quickly try to resort for army help etc.
    ….to solve these problem… i think prevention should be at focus by proper implementing city planning rules, better crowd management and local training. In addition to it there is need to have better coordination among various agencies for better utilisation of limited resources…

  • Aspira Aspira

    Yes we are not prepared enough to tackle disasters on the following front
    1. The awareness among people
    2. Strictly implementing the norms for disatre preventyion lioke flood plains zoning
    3. Forecasting disasters

    We have the potential of necessary wherewithala
    the wrong in the system are
    1. Lack of seriousness
    2. Fixing responsibilities and taking approaite actions aganist the officials responsible for it
    3. Human life is not given the deserved attention

    Suggested framework could be

    1.Clear guidelines for prevetion and mitigation
    2. STrictly following them
    3. More awareness among people
    4. Fixing respomnsibilities

  • Aspira Aspira

    I think point format of ansers is better for intevieqw

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