As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav– celebrating India’s 75 years of glorious Independence- DD News is organising a series of conclaves on themes reflecting policy initiatives taken to better the life of the common man and build a new vibrant India. The DD News Conclave is a platform, bringing together eminent dignitaries, policymakers and domain experts to provide insights and their perspective on the execution and impact of policy initiatives as well as the way forward. The Conclave is expected to emerge as a major thought platform, and offer a blueprint of key ideas guiding major Government initiatives across the country via Doordarshan’s pan-India presence.
The third Conclave in this series was held onthe topic ‘Reimagining Disaster Management’ with a session moderated by Prof.Santosh Kumar, Professor, NIDM(National Institute of Disaster Management) and a panel of experts including Krishna. S. Vatsa, Member NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority), S. N. Pradhan, DG NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), Dr. R.K Jenamani, Scientist, IMD and Agendra Kumar, MD ESRI India. An enthusiastic studio audience comprising of academicians,NGO representatives and college students interacted with the panellists during the session.
The experts discussed different facets of disaster management including mitigation, response, rehabilitation and recovery. The panellists agreed that disaster management has come to be a collaborative effort between Centre, States, local bodies, NGOs, civilian volunteers and community. They emphasized that developing better early warning systems, building resilient infrastructure based on geographical mapping and community-led recovery and rehabilitation processes will go a long way in minimising damage to life and property.
Speaking about the Disaster Response Force, also called ‘Angels in Orange’, S.N Pradhan said that NDRF and SDRF have over time been able to build credibility and trust with their yeoman service. He stressed on inclusive disaster risk reduction and resilient-infrastructure built around the needs of women, children and Divyangjan, to ensure appropriate disaster-readiness. Further, he informed that more and more women are joining NDRF battalions, lending a more inclusive approach to rescue operations. He said that since response forces always work in coordination with local volunteers, community-level capacity building becomes a crucial intervention.
Krishna. S. Vatsa said that NDMA has been training volunteers under ‘AapdaMitr’ scheme for community-level response. He said that land-use planning must be such that there are no encroachments in the floodplains, thus ensuring ‘Room for River’. Further, there needs to be accurate damage assessment and adequate compensation incorporating socio-economic dimensions, to ensure faster reconstruction and recovery. He highlighted that some of the most disaster-affected regions are inhabited by the marginalized and the poor, and that through Disaster Mitigation Funds, disaster risk reduction may be part of developmental programs.
Dr.Jenamani said that IMD has scaled up data collection and software for climate modelling thus delivering more accurate predictions for cyclones, heat waves, etc. IMD has been issuing impact-based alerts and their quick dissemination through all forms of media. Early warning messages in vernacular languages are being delivered through Whatsapp alerts, mobile networks etc, along with social media and mass media. The next step to reduce fatalities is to ensure that people are sensitised to act based on these warnings through community-level awareness and outreach.
Agendra Kumarspoke about role of GIS and spatial mapping. He said that with the help of latest technology, multiple weather sensors, satellite imagery and even data from social media can be incorporated to deliver more accurate forecasts.
The Conclave was telecast on 02ndOctober, 2021 at 9pm IST on DD News.