Rs.1 bn for revamping civil defence

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The central government will spend Rs.1 billion on revamping the country’s civil defence system during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12), it was announced Wednesday. The Home Minister’s Civil Defence Advisory Committee held its first meeting here Wednesday to discuss the national policy on civil defence, the home ministry said in a statement.

It discussed a report prepared by K.M. Singh, member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), for revamping the present scheme and decided to implement the report during the 11th Plan at an estimated cost of Rs.1 billion.

The committee decided to integrate civil defence in the disaster management framework and carry out the necessary amendment to the Civil Defence Act, 1968, for the purpose. It also decided to take up implementation of the revamping scheme with the state governments.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil chaired the meeting that was attended by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, National Disaster Management Authority vice chairman Gen (Retd) N.C. Vij and Minister of State for Home V. Radhika Selvi.

Civil defence includes any measures, not amounting to actual combat, for affording protection to any person, property, place or thing in India or any part of its territory against any attack during any war, external aggression, internal disturbance or otherwise.

For a while, there have been suggestions that civil defence activities, which have so far been primarily seen in the context of external aggression and war, should become more broad-based to meet new and complex challenges.

In the light of this understanding, Singh has recommended that civil defence should include disaster management.

Other recommendations include involving volunteers at the grassroots level to assist in creating public awareness, capacity building, response and relief. The committee has also advocated close coordination between civil defence and the existing Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies.

The Civil Defence Advisory Committee has been reconstituted recently to include representatives from the ministries of home, finance, defence and agriculture, other than the state governments.

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