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Rajya Sabha on Monday passed a bill that will help set up institutional mechanism at national, state and district levels for responding to natural disasters and implementation of management plans.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil said states will have powers to draft policies to tackle disaster.
The Disaster Management Bill, 2005, adopting several amendments, was passed by a voice vote.
Patil assured members that there will be accountability regarding funds.
The bill provides for setting up a National Disaster Management Authority under the Chairmanship of the prime minister, a State Disaster Management Authority under the chief minister and a District Authority under the district magistrate, he said.
It will also provide for constitution of a National Disaster Response Force and setting up of the National Institute of Disaster Management, National Fund for Disaster Response and National Fund for Disaster Mitigation and similar funds at state and district levels.
Patil made it clear that the membership of the Disaster Management Authority will not exceed 10 members even though there is a provision for reducing it, if required.
The home minister said since the prime minister was the chairman, there will be no problems in executing the powers provided for the authority.
He defended the need for a representative from the research body and said this will help in planning the disaster management.
He said a representative from the scientific world will be inducted in the authority soon.
Patil said local bodies will have a major role and responsibility in implementing the disaster management plan during the crisis.
He clarified that man-made disasters and accidents would also fall under the ambit of Disaster Management Authority.
Earlier, while moving the bill for discussion, Patil said all the amendments had been incorporated in the legislation.
Patil referred to disasters like floods, earthquakes, cyclones, avalanches and bio-chemicals and said government would enact policies and programmes to deal with such eventualities immediately.
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