Involve people in disaster management strategies: PM

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Disaster management is an area of vital national importance to India and the disaster risk reduction strategies must actively involve local communities, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

Addressing the first session of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction here, the prime minister called for giving greater attention to arrangements for providing funds to people to cope with the losses suffered due to natural disasters.

“Disaster management is an area of vital national importance to our country. I believe that the integration of disaster risk reduction strategies into our development initiatives must necessarily involve actively the local communities,” he said.

Manmohan Singh asked the authorities to make full use of the Panchayat Raj institutions to ensure involvement of people in disaster risk reduction strategies.

The prime minister said the need to consider disaster risk as a developmental issue was emphasised for the first time in country’s 10th Five Year Plan (2002-2007).

“This has led to a number of plan schemes in areas such as drought proofing, afforestation and sanitation and provision of drinking water,” he said.

Calling for effective arrangements for providing funds to people to cope with losses due to natural disasters, he said: “The current systems, particularly at the national level, lack institutional incentives and do not promote mechanisms such as risk insurance and contingent credit facilities.”

“The development of such… arrangements is particularly important because they typically serve as a primary source of immediate funding that would reduce human suffering, economic losses and fiscal pressures in the aftermath of natural disasters,” he added.

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