Delhi, May 28:The Annual Conference of Relief Commissioners/ Secretaries of the Department of Disaster Management of States and Union Territories to review the status of preparedness for the South-West Monsoon began here today.Several Central Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations which perform emergency support functions in the wake of natural calamities are participating in the one-day Conference, organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Inaugurating the Conference, the Secretary (Border Management) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri Shantanu Consul called upon the States to set up their own search and rescue teams and provide them specialized training as well as necessary equipment. He said that these teams could cater to the needs of not only the concerned state but also others states during crisis. Shri Consul informed the meeting that the Central Government had already constituted the National Disaster Response Force, consisting of 8 battalions of Central Para Military Forces for the purpose of specialist response to disaster situations. There are 144 specialist response teams consisting of 45 personnel each. Shri Consul referred to the request of several states for inclusion of calamities like frosts, cold wave and lightning in the list of notified natural calamities, entitled for assistance under the Calamity Relief Fund. He advised the States to take up the matter with the 13th Finance Commission which has already been constituted.
Shri Consul also released a Manual on Administration of Calamity Relief and National Calamity Contingency Funds.
The Conference of Relief Commissioners/Secretaries, Department of Disaster Management of States/UTs is an annual feature, convened before the onset of the monsoon season primarily to review the status of preparedness of the States and UTs as well as Central Ministries and Departments to manage the situations caused by heavy rains and floods. The Conference also discusses other important issues relating to overall strengthening of the disaster management system in the country, based on experience gained during recent years and latest technological developments.