New Delhi: Government Tuesday announced institution of a new national service medal for the personnel of country's lead disaster mitigation force NDRF and other such units who risk their lives to help the common man struck in calamities.
Announcing the new step at an event of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) here, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the medal and the cash incentive is aimed to recognise the bravery and dedication to service of these personnel who are deployed as soon as any man-made or natural disaster occurs in any part of the country.
Singh lauded the role played by NDRF personnel in mitigating recent disasters and providing succour to people during the recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir, landslide in Pune and cyclones like 'Hud Hud', 'Phailin' and 'Nilofar' that the country witnessed.
This is the first time that the central government will recognise the valour and efforts of its security personnel in the domain of disaster management, on lines of similar recognition and service medals in the counter-insurgency and anti-Naxal operations theatre.
The absence of such an institutional recognition and incentive was also felt last year after the NDRF and ITBP lost 15 of their men in a chopper crash during Uttarakhand relief operations and their sacrifice was not recognised by any government award or medal despite IAF officials, on-board the same helicopter, being decorated with gallantry medals.
NDRF DG O P Singh welcomed the step and said this new medal, to be accorded by the Union Home Ministry, will act as a great morale booster for his officers and personnel.
"This is a great incentive. Our boys have been the first responders at all such disasters and this was a long pending demand," he told PTI.
The Home Minister said his ministry is making plans to include the subject of disaster management to be taught to college and school going children "upto a certain level."
He said his department was also taking steps to initiate precautionary measures to stop and avert man-made disasters.