India’s response to Covid 19 pandemic has brought to light several inadequacies and ambiguities in India’s disaster management framework. Discuss.

The Covid 19 pandemic brought upon India a sudden lockdown which slowed down the country in various dimensions.

Inadequacies in India’s response:

  • Sudden and unplanned lockdown brought along with it miseries to the poor and vulnerable, especially the migrants.
  • Inadequacies in managing biological disasters were brought out.
  • Disaster management problems soon turned into law and order problems (lockdown and quarantine violations).
  • Loss of livelihood was largescale, complemented by the absence of social security measures in place.

Ambiguities in disaster management:

  • Since there is no specific provision for handling “biological disaster” in NDMA 2005. Therefore simultaneous invoking of provisions of both NDMA and Epidemic Disease Act, brought out confusion and chaos.
  • Center-state issues and discoordination were exposed.
  • The vulnerability of the socio-economic fabric of the country was brought out.
  • Law & order and administration problems caused due to crisis of disaster management were unforeseen & unexpected.
  • The inadequacies of the healthcare system to deal with casualties were catastrophic.
  • Disaster disrupted the supply chains both within and outside the country and had a cascading effect on the economy.

Way forward:

  • Strict guidelines to deal with biological and chemical disasters must be put in place.
  • Long-term measures like boosting the healthcare system capacity both infrastructure and human resources.
  • Strict adherence to Biomedical waste management (Amendment) Rules 2018.
  • Strengthening the institutional capacity of the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • Coordination between the center-state and local government must be enhanced.

Covid 19 pandemic brought out short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects on society. Strict measures need to be put in place as preparedness and mitigation for any future disaster of this kind.

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