Centre has applied an unused provision in the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to allow any person or institution to contribute to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the purpose of disaster management.
On Saturday, MHA said it has “laid out the modalities for receipt of contributions/ grants from any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management” in the NDRF as per Section 46(1)(b) of the DM Act, 2005. The section pertaining to NDRF says “any grants that may be made by any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management.”
MHA said that contributions can be made online or through physical instruments drawn in favour of “PAO (Secretariat), MHA” at New Delhi.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had invoked the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the first time in March this year in wake of COVID-19. The pandemic was notified as a “disaster,” paving the way for the States to utilise the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for treatment of patients and other logistics such as quarantine centres, setting up laboratories among other things. The other notified disasters are cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.
The NDRF, maintained under the accounting head of the Union Finance Ministry, has been allocated ₹22,070 crore in the financial year 2020-21, up from ₹17,210 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal.
As per Section 46 of the DM Act, the “NDRF supplements the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF.” The States have to submit utilisation certificates, pending which no future allocation is made.
The SDRF is the primary fund available with State governments to meet the expenses of relief operations of an immediate nature, for a range of specified disasters. The Centre contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories, and 90% for special category States (northeast States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir).
The total corpus of the SDRF is ₹28,983 crore this fiscal, of which the MHA released its first installment of ₹11,092 crore to all States on April 2 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.