National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is functional: Centre to Delhi High Court
The Centre has refuted the claim made in a PIL that due to lack of vacant posts in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), its members are working on their own without any direction and coordination.
“It is not true, NDMA is headed by the prime minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to a public interest litigation which alleged that the posts in the NDMA and the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) have not been filled up in the last two years.
The ministry further informed a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice chairman of the authority.
“At present there are four members in NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre said, adding that “weekly meetings are held regularly, where all the members and joint secretaries discuss the implementation of various schemes, programmes and other issues related to disaster management.”
“In addition, wherever required, guidance from the Prime Minister’s office and MHA are provided,” the Centre’s affidavit said.
It said that the both the NDMA and the NIDM are discharging their roles as envisaged under the Disaster Management Act.
“The suggestion to the effect that these institution are rendered dead is completely baseless,” it added.
The bench was hearing a PIL by a lawyer who claimed that several key posts, including that of the vice chairperson and secretary of the NDMA, were lying vacant for the past two years and this was seriously affecting its functioning.
The Centre, however, said, “as regard the post of secretary NDMA is concerned, one of the members in the NDMA has been authorised to exercise the administration and financial power vested with the secretary NDMA”.
The PIL by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal alleged that several posts are lying vacant also in the NIDM which was established to provide assistance in the national level policy formulation, organise training programmes, carry out research and several other important functions.
“It is important to mention that Respondent 1 (MHA), in order to provide skilled human resources, critical supplies for emergency responses etc, created a network i.e. India Disaster Resource Network (IDRN).
“For the successful implementation of IDRN, MHA has authorised NIDM to organise training programmes regularly across the country. However, due to lack of manpower since last two years, NIDM has not organised any such regular training programme,” the petition said.
Bansal sought directions to the government to fill up all the vacant posts in the two organisations.