Disaster Management: Definition, Types, Disaster Management UPSC Notes

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 25th, 2023

Disaster Management is defined as a process of preventing a disaster or managing its after-effects. A disaster can be called a mishap, occurring naturally or by man-made actions that result in devastating outcomes. But these mishaps can be avoided if precautions are taken in advance. Therefore, disaster management in India is an important topic for discussion and relevant to be studied for UPSC exam preparation. There has been an increasing trend in incidents of loss of life and assets due to insufficient knowledge about climate change, overuse of natural resources, use of technology for disaster management, etc.

Disaster Management includes step-by-step planning, preparation, mitigation, response after disaster and recovery to build things back. It concerns how one deal with economic, environmental, human and material losses after a disaster.

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What is Disaster Management?

Disaster is a condition that is caused either naturally or by man-made activities that cause a vast disruption to human and animal life. Preventing the occurrence of these disasters is termed disaster management. These disasters could be floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or biological or chemical weapons that create havoc in society by some notorious human elements.

Disaster Management Notes PDF

Special teams are designed to either prevent these disasters or provide immediate relief to the survivors who have been affected by them. This process of helping the affected lives is called disaster management.

Disaster Management Definition

According to the Disaster Management Act 2005, disaster management can be defined as an integrated process of planning, coordinating, organizing, and implementing measures that are necessary for

  • Rehabilitation and reconstruction
  • Prompt response to any threatening disaster
  • Mitigation of any disaster or its consequences
  • Preparedness to deal with any disaster
  • Evacuation, rescue, and relief of the survivors
  • Capacity building
  • Assessing the severity of the after-effects of any disaster

Types of Disaster Management

Disasters can be broadly classified into two types based on their origin: natural and man-made disasters.

  • Natural Disaster Management: Natural disasters are those which occur naturally due to a difference in the climate or the concerned body (water/earth). The natural disaster caused may be a result of steady or rapid disturbances in nature that have an impact on livelihood. These disasters can be harmful to both life and property. Earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, epidemics, and wildlife fires are some common examples of natural disasters.
  • A Man-Made Disaster: As the name suggests, man-made disasters are caused by the disturbances created by some notorious elements in society, or they can be to meet the lifestyle requirements of humans, which results in environmental degradation. Bomb blasts, biological weapons, deforestation, pollution, accidents (rope-way, passenger bus), etc, are some of the man-made disasters to human lives.

Need for Disaster Management in India

There are multiple reasons why do we need disaster management in India which are provided here. UPSC aspirants must be clear about this topic as it will help them in writing descriptive answers in the Mains examination. Also, questions can be asked on this topic in the UPSC Prelims paper. Disaster management is important because of the following reasons:

  • To prevent loss of life and property.
  • To protect people against any mishappenings.
  • To provide the necessary counseling to people to save their lives and act in a responsible manner during disasters.
  • To minimize the effects of trauma among people.

Disaster Management Cycle

India Disaster Management has developed a phase model to deal with disasters and come up with the appropriate management in terms of emergencies. This is also known as the life cycle of Disaster Management. There are four phases of disaster management, which are as follows:

  • Mitigation: Mitigation can be considered as pre-disaster management that involves measures to reduce the vulnerable impact of a disaster. It includes the options like revised zoning, public infrastructure strengthening, land use management and similar ideas that can reduce the after-effects of a disaster.
  • Preparedness: This phase includes outreaching the community, educating them about the impact, and training them on responding to and recovering from a disaster. These disaster preparedness activities guide provides more information on better preparing an effective organization and the business community to deal with a disaster.
  • Response: Response involves all the necessary information regarding the threats that are possessed by a disaster. This also involves the establishment of a Business recovery center as, in later terms, the focus shifts from saving lives to meeting humanitarian needs and completing the clean-up process.
  • Recovery: Recovery is the last disaster management phase responsible for restoring the community and normalizing the local economy. During this phase, the impact again becomes stable in environmental, physical, social, and economic terms.

Disaster Management in India

Several agencies work for disaster management in India to help people act in the best possible manner during disasters.

National Disaster Management Act, 2005

The National Disaster Management Act 2005 was passed by the government. Rajya Sabha passed this act on 28 November 2005, Lok Sabha on 12 Dec 2005, and was assented to by the Indian President on 23 Dec 2005. The aim was to provide relief to the survivors affected by any disaster and to ensure efficient management conditions before and after the occurrence of any disaster. Under the disaster management Act 2005, several governing bodies were constituted to look at it. These bodies are,

  • NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority): It prepares policies and guidelines to combat the severe effects of disasters. As per this act, the NDMA can have 9 members, including a chairperson with a tenure of 5 years.
  • NEC (National Executive Committee): It prepares the national disaster management plan for the entire country and ensures its annual review.
  • SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority): It closely looks at all the states about the pre-planning of the disaster management plans as guided by national authorities.
  • NDRF (National Disaster Response Force): This is a special force constituted to help and assist survivors during disasters.

National Policy on Disaster Management 2009

National Policy on Disaster Management 2009 aims to promote an impactful culture of prevention and resilience at all levels via education, innovation, and knowledge. The key points of this policy are listed below:

  • It was prepared to pursue the Disaster Management Act 2005 to organize a roadmap to handle the disasters in the country.
  • It was constituted with the vision of safeguarding the people from disasters and creating a smart technology-oriented strategy to combat extreme conditions.
  • The policy deals with the overall disaster management plan like financial and legal arrangements, reconstruction, rehabilitation, recovery, etc.

National Disaster Management Plan, 2016

This plan is the first-ever initiative by India to work for disaster management in the country. This plan was prepared by NDMA. It was aligned with the Sendai Framework and aimed to silence the country’s disaster, reducing the lost assets and lives. The major key points of the National Disaster Management Plan, 2016 are as follows:

  • The plan was first initiated in 2016, aiming to make the country a disaster-free country and limit the aftermath of a disaster.
  • The national disaster management plan 2015 works on the vision to "Make India a disaster region across all the sectors, and achieve substantial and inclusive disaster risk reduction by building local capacities, starting with the poor and decreasing significantly the loss of life, livelihoods, and assets in different forms, including economic, physical, social, cultural, and environmental, while enhancing the ability to cope with disasters at all levels."

National Disaster Management Authority

National Disaster Management Authority is the leading body in managing disasters in the country. The Authority is responsible for approving the National Plan and laying down the necessary policies for managing the Disasters:

  • The Disaster Management Act 2005 makes establishing the NDMA for district-level institutional mechanisms compulsory.
  • The NDMA is specifically tasked with laying out the policies and guidelines for disaster management.
  • Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and response are the key factors in India's disaster management development.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the NDMA, and Kamal Kishore is the member secretary of the authority.

Disaster Management UPSC

Disaster management UPSC is an important topic in the syllabus of GS1 in the IAS exam. The questions about disaster management are mostly asked in UPSC Mains Exam, and hence it becomes an integral part of learning for scoring purposes. So, get yourself acquainted with the definition and types of disaster management to score well in the exam.

Disaster Management UPSC Question

A significant number of questions have been asked from Disaster Management in the UPSC mains examination. A few among them are:

Question 1: (UPSC Mains, 2021) Describe the various causes and effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (Answer in 250 words)

Question 2: (UPSC Mains, 2020) Discuss the recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India, departing from the earlier reactive approach.

Try these:


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FAQs on Disaster Management

  • Disaster mangement is the process of dealing with the social, economic, human, and material impacts of a disaster on a community. It is a practice of anticipating and responding to any natural or man-made disaster in a specific region with a well-prepared action plan.

  • Disaster management in India is important to save the lives of people and communities from being destroyed after any natural or man-made disasters. It ensures a coordinated and effective approach to dealing with disasters.

  • To prepare a project on disaster management, candidates first need to identify the strategy used to collect the data. They can go to an affected area and interview people about the after-effects and changes in their lives after getting hit by the disaster. Or else, they can do a case study on the disaster mangement cycle followed by the concerned authorities in any region.

  • There are two types of disasters for which preventive actions are taken by the government authorities from time to time as a part of the disaster management cycle. Those are natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc, and human-made disasters such as accidents, bomb blasts, etc.

  • Mitigation in disaster management is defined as the efforts to reduce or eradicate the long-term risks and problems associated with possible natural disasters in an area. It’s a pre-disaster strategy that involves actions such as building up effective infrastructure, proper management of land, etc.

  • There are mainly four phases of disaster management in India which are mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. This model is used to effectively deal with the pre and post-effects of any disaster in a region.

  • Disaster management is not the sole responsibility of the government, but it should be the combined responsibility of the government and the people. It is crucial to introduce disaster mangement to students of schools, colleges, and universities, as by learning about this topic, they can be more prepared and confident about dealing with disasters. It will help in boosting their knowledge and survival skills against any disaster in their lifetime.

  • Mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery are the four components of the disaster management cycle. Mitigation is the first stage which involves getting ready to deal with disasters before any incident, while recovery is the last stage which involves rebuilding the community after the disaster.

  • Disaster Management UPSC notes are important for both prelims and mains and are a part of the environment and ecology syllabus. Candidates can download the Disaster Management UPSC Notes PDF, which includes all sub-topics such as definition, cycle, types and more.

  • Candidates can expect an essay on Disaster Management UPSC in the Mains exam. To prepare the topics, go through the mentioned notes here and supplement them with current affairs and details about how NDMA contributes to Disaster Management in India.

  • The National disaster management authority is directly responsible for disaster management. This body is directly controlled under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India.

  • The main goal of Disaster Management is to reduce and prevent losses, provide prompt assistance and contribute to effective and rapid recovery. A structured plan to prevent losses during a disaster and mitigate the impact after is the main agenda of disaster management.

  • No. Risk management is taking care of controlling and assessing the heads of an organization. In contrast, disaster management proposes providing relief to the survival in a disaster before or after it.

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