With India confronting natural disasters routinely, Union Home Minister on Tuesday announced a package of ₹8,000 crore for infrastructure upgrade to cover modernisation of fire brigade services in all States, prevention of landslides in 17 States and flood mitigation in seven major cities.

Shah spoke of the Central government initiative during his address at a meeting of the ministers of disaster management of States and Union Territories. Appealing to focus on zero loss of life due to any disaster, Union Home Minister said, “For the modernisation and expansion of fire brigade services, about ₹5,000 crore assistance will be given to all States. We have prepared a detailed plan and it will be forwarded to you. To mitigate the danger of floods in urban areas, in seven major cities -- Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune -- ₹2,500 crore will be given.”

Similarly, he said, “To deal with landslides in 17 States, almost ₹825 crore will be given by the Central government”.

The Union Minister also revealed that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has done an audit of seven nuclear power stations under construction and sent a strict protocol to the States where they are housed for adoption of the strict protocol to avoid any incident of possible disaster.

“I appeal to all those concerned States to make it a priority. Before the commissioning of the nuclear power plants and before the generation of power, whatever disaster prevention measures have to be taken, should be taken. It is utmost necessity for all of us,” Shah said.

Shah appreciated that all CMs are working together under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi which has culminated into many achievements but stated that there was a need to work more because disasters are constantly changing their nature and their intensity is also on the rise.

He stated that Covid-19 pandemic, the worst ever human tragedy of the century, was deftly handled by PM Modi along with the chief ministers which demonstrated effective Centre-State coordination.

Preparatory, not reactionary approach

Earlier, as per Shah, the country’s approach on the disaster was relief-oriented and reactionary, and the effort would be directed towards relief and rehabilitation only. In the last nine years, however, everyone came together and the governments have implemented early warning system, prevention, mitigation and preparedness based disaster management, the Minister said.

On some State ministers’ suggestion to enhance compensation for farmers facing natural disaster, the Union Home Minister assured the Centre would examine it seriously and, at the same, suggested that States should also increase their budgetary provision for it.

The Minister said majority of states have neither formulated work plans nor implemented the model fire bill, disaster prevention policy, thunderstorm and lightning policy and the cold wave policy formulated by the Central government.