While the frequency of forest fire appears to have increased in the country, India’s approach towards forest fire management has significant gaps. Elucidate. (10 marks)

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with increased frequency of forest fires in India
  • Bring out the various gaps in forest fire management (NIDM report identified the gaps)
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

India, which saw a 46% increase in the number of forest fires in the last 16 years (2003-17), witnessed a 125% spike (from 15,937 to 35,888) in such fires in just two years (2015 to 2017). According to Forest Survey Report of India, 64.29 per cent of the Recorded Forest Area is prone to fires. As the number of incidents showed a rising trend, the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme was revised and replaced as Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme in 2017. However, there remain significant gaps.

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Key gaps in forest fire management (as per NIDM):

  • Lack of appropriate policy and planning to tackle forest fire: Existing forest policy and other documents, including plans etc. lack clear guidelines for forest fire management.
  • Lack of proper institutional mechanism: There is no institutional mechanism with sole responsibility of fire management, even in higher fire prone regions. The forest department looks after forest fire management.
  • Emphasis on response only: Focus is on response, while little importance is given to mitigation, preparedness, human resource development, awareness etc.
  • Lack of scientific approach to collect fire data and document it for forest fire management: At State level, there is not much effort to collect and document forest fire data and use it in research and planning. Only the Forest Survey of India has recently started compiling forest fire data.
  • Lack of funding: There is no provision for separate budget for forest fire management at State level in general. Forest protection fund is used.
  • Not many initiatives to involve local community in forest fire management: There is a need to involve community by providing them some initiatives to protect forest from fires.
  • Poor response to HRD and other capacity building initiatives: Forest departments in most of the cases are not trained and lack complete knowledge about forest fire and its behavior. The forest department training institutes are also not well equipped.
  • Lack of proper contingency plans and rehearsals/drills for fire suppression
  • Poor early warning system: Forest departments still use the traditional methods to detect fires and disseminate information at field levels. There is an urgent need to revitalize the system using modern techniques and train the field staff to use them more effectively.
  • Lack of preventive and preparedness measures to ensure better response:Preparedness activities like clearing fire lines, removing the fuel (dead wood, leaves etc.), recruiting forest fire watchers, rehearsal and drill practices etc. are essential.
  • Lack of coordination between various agencies: Coordination of forest departments with other agencies, whose support may be very important in forest fire management, is very poor.

Forest fires are today a leading cause of forest degradation in India while also leading to loss of lives and livelihoods. There is a need for a comprehensive national policy and guidelines for forest fire prevention and management, with focus on institutions and capacity, community engagement, technology, and data learning from national and international best practices.

Subjects : Disaster Management

The Sendai Declaration was adopted almost universally to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses. Highlight the various important initiatives taken by India towards disaster risk reduction in commitment to the Sendai framework. (10 marks)

The Sendai Declaration was adopted almost universally to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses. Highlight the various important initiatives taken by India towards disaster risk reduction in commitment to the Sendai framework. (10 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduction with Sendai framework
  • Mention various initiatives by GoI – Asian Ministerial Conference, capacity building, sharing India’s expertise etc.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

In 2015,  188 UN member nations, including India adopted a 15-year plan on disaster risk reduction termed as ‘Sendai Framework’. The Sendai Framework has set targets for substantial disaster risk reduction by 2030, including reduction in number of deaths from disasters, number of people affected by disasters, economic losses and infrastructure losses.

The Framework calls for concrete indicators of progress towards these targets by the members. In furtherance to its commitment to the Sendai framework, Indian Government has taken up several important initiatives post Sendai Declaration, including:

  1. Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction (AMCDRR): As committed during the Sendai conference, India hosted the AMCDRR in 2016 and adopted ‘New Delhi Declaration’and ‘Regional Action Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’. The outcomes of AMCDRR will guide the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Asia and the Pacific.
  2. Set of priority actions have been issued to all the State governments by the government of India based on the goals, targets and priorities of Sendai Framework.
  3. Strengthening of disaster response forces: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was strengthened in terms of state of the art training and equipment. The government also approved the creation of National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR) fund under NDRF for inventory of emergency goods.
  4. Sharing India’s expertise: The government is helping countries in disaster response (Nepal in 2015 and Japan in 2011), and is making consistent efforts to promote regional cooperation by hosting the SAARC Disaster Management Centre to reduce disaster risk in the region and promote knowledge sharing.
  5. Capacity building: Establishment of a Centre for Excellence in Disaster Research and Resilience Building at JNU, National Disaster Response Force Academy at National Civil Defence College, Strengthening and up-gradation of National Fire Safety College etc.

Disaster management has evolved a long way from managing events of disaster to managing the risks of disasters, and India’s post Sendai initiatives represent a step forward in this direction. Further, there is need of collaboration by all entities, public and private, to strengthen the mechanisms for disaster risk reduction.

Subjects : Disaster Management

While the frequency of forest fire appears to have increased in the country, India’s approach towards forest fire management has significant gaps. Elucidate. (10 marks)

While the frequency of forest fire appears to have increased in the country, India’s approach towards forest fire management has significant gaps. Elucidate. (10 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduce with increased frequency of forest fires in India
  • Bring out the various gaps in forest fire management (NIDM report identified the gaps)
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

India, which saw a 46% increase in the number of forest fires in the last 16 years (2003-17), witnessed a 125% spike (from 15,937 to 35,888) in such fires in just two years (2015 to 2017). According to Forest Survey Report of India, 64.29 per cent of the Recorded Forest Area is prone to fires. As the number of incidents showed a rising trend, the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme was revised and replaced as Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme in 2017. However, there remain significant gaps.

Key gaps in forest fire management (as per NIDM):

  • Lack of appropriate policy and planning to tackle forest fire: Existing forest policy and other documents, including plans etc. lack clear guidelines for forest fire management.
  • Lack of proper institutional mechanism: There is no institutional mechanism with sole responsibility of fire management, even in higher fire prone regions. The forest department looks after forest fire management.
  • Emphasis on response only: Focus is on response, while little importance is given to mitigation, preparedness, human resource development, awareness etc.
  • Lack of scientific approach to collect fire data and document it for forest fire management: At State level, there is not much effort to collect and document forest fire data and use it in research and planning. Only the Forest Survey of India has recently started compiling forest fire data.
  • Lack of funding: There is no provision for separate budget for forest fire management at State level in general. Forest protection fund is used.
  • Not many initiatives to involve local community in forest fire management: There is a need to involve community by providing them some initiatives to protect forest from fires.
  • Poor response to HRD and other capacity building initiatives: Forest departments in most of the cases are not trained and lack complete knowledge about forest fire and its behavior. The forest department training institutes are also not well equipped.
  • Lack of proper contingency plans and rehearsals/drills for fire suppression
  • Poor early warning system: Forest departments still use the traditional methods to detect fires and disseminate information at field levels. There is an urgent need to revitalize the system using modern techniques and train the field staff to use them more effectively.
  • Lack of preventive and preparedness measures to ensure better response: Preparedness activities like clearing fire lines, removing the fuel (dead wood, leaves etc.), recruiting forest fire watchers, rehearsal and drill practices etc. are essential.
  • Lack of coordination between various agencies: Coordination of forest departments with other agencies, whose support may be very important in forest fire management, is very poor.

Forest fires are today a leading cause of forest degradation in India while also leading to loss of lives and livelihoods. There is a need for a comprehensive national policy and guidelines for forest fire prevention and management, with focus on institutions and capacity, community engagement, technology, and data learning from national and international best practices.

Subjects : Disaster Management

Give an account of the institutional framework for Disaster Management in India. (10 marks)

 Give an account of the institutional framework for Disaster Management in India. (10 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduce with the importance of Disaster Management in India
  • Explain the institutional framework at different levels – NDMA, SDMA, DDMA etc.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its unique Geo-climatic conditions. About 60% of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities; over 40 million hectares are prone to floods; about 8% of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68% of the area is susceptible to drought.

Disaster management helps by facilitating timely and effective rescue, relief and rehabilitation at the place of disaster. Thus India has created an elaborate institutional framework for the same.

Institutional Framework for Disaster management in India

  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): The Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for setting up of a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) with the Prime Minister as Chairperson. NDMA is responsible for laying down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management for ensuring timely and effective response to disaster.
  • State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA): The Act also provides for setting up of Stage Disaster Management Authorities under the Chairpersonship of the Chief Minister. The Committee prepares a State Plan which would include:
    • An assessment of vulnerability of different parts of the state to different forms of disasters;
    • Measures to be adopted for prevention and mitigation of disasters;
    • Capacity building; supervising relief and rescue operations at the time of disaster and in disseminating information about any impending disaster.
  • District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA): At district level, DDMA which is headed by the Collector/ District Magistrate with elected representative of the local authority as co-chairperson, acts as the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management. It prepares the District Plan for disaster management in accordance with instructions by NDMA and SDMA.
  • National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM): Capacity building is an important aspect of disaster management. This requires developing human resources to handle disaster management work and undertake studies and research on the subject. The Disaster Management Act gives this mandate to the National Institute of Disaster Management.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF): NDRF was constituted in 2006. It has 10 battalions drawn from the paramilitary forces. These battalions are positioned at different locations to provide timely response to disaster situations and are available to State Governments at the time of need.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the National Policy, 2009 mark the institutionalization of paradigm shift in disaster management in India, from a relief-centric approach to one of proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness. While it is not possible to avoid natural hazards, adequate mitigation and disaster risk reduction measures can prevent the hazards becoming major disasters.

Subjects : Disaster Management