New Delhi: The NDA government is gradually weakening the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) by taking away its proactive role in disaster prevention and then in relief work, its former Vice-Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said here today. He accused the government of downsizing the number of
NDMA’s members and downgrading its status in order to make it weaker.
“Today NDMA is virtually non-existent. The reason is that work given to them has been completely diluted. There is no Vice-Chairman and the three members working in the body have not been allocated any work,” Reddy told PTI here.
He criticised the government for reconstituting the disaster management body. “NDMA was established in 2005. Though there were teething troubles but people started acknowledging its efforts. Its efforts during Kedarnath tragedy and Phailin cyclone in 2013 were well recognised.
“The NDA government has now changed the constitution of NDMA. The government can make any number of changes as long as these changes improve system. Nobody has problem with that. But the changes brought by them have weakened the institution and rendered it toothless,” said Reddy, who resigned from the post of NDMA Vice Chairman in June last year.
He said the post of Vice-Chairman, which used to be of Cabinet Minister rank during the UPA’s tenure, has been downgraded to Cabinet Secretary level. NDMA members, who used have Minister of State level, are now have secretary-level status.
“There will be difficulty in coordination with the states in this regard. If a Vice-Chairman of Cabinet Minister status goes to a state he will be meeting the Chief Minister more easily than somebody of Cabinet Secretary level. These are issues with protocol also,” Reddy said.