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MHA`s disaster response comes under PAC`s criticism

Organisations tackling disasters came under criticism of Parliamentary committee which slammed Home Ministry for failing to take quick decisions on issues, affecting response agencies` performance.

New Delhi: The functioning of various organisations set up to tackle disasters on Monday came under sharp criticism of a Parliamentary committee which slammed the Union Home Ministry for failing to take quick decisions on several crucial issues, affecting the performance of the response agencies.
Based on the April, 2013 report of the CAG on disaster management, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today grilled top officials of the Home Ministry, including new Home Secretary Anil Goswami, on the issue of preparedness in handling disasters - both man-made and natural.

The meeting of the PAC comes in the backdrop of devastation caused by rains and flash floods in Uttarakhand.

Several members were critical of the fact that despite coming into being in 2006, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) so far has no `business rules` to conduct its internal affairs.

The MHA had asked the NDMA to frame its business rules, but so far the framework has not been set up.

The MHA was also questioned on the delay in implementing the recommendations of a task force set up in December, 2011 to "examine and review the ambiguity, constrains and bottlenecks" in the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The Home Secretary assured the panel that he will take a call on the recommendations in the next three weeks. The recommendations were made in March. Several members questioned the failure of the National Executive Committee, which assists the National Disaster Management Authority, to meet regularly.

The NEC - headed by the Union Home Secretary - has met only twice in recent years - in May, 2008 and December, 2012. Goswami said the 5th meeting of the NEC will be held shortly.


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