NDRF- Structure, Role and Drawbacks

NDRF- Structure, Role and Drawbacks

Question:- The period of chaos that followed the Bhuj earthquake made the government realize the need to have a systematic and well trained agency to focus entirely on the disasters that occur. This resulted in the establishment of NDRF. Write the role, structure and drawbacks of the agency.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India created the National Disaster Management Authority under which is an agency called National Disaster Response Force was established in 2009 in Delhi. This agency focused on disaster management and specialized response to natural and man made disasters.

- Structure: The NDRF consists of ten battalions of Central Armed Police Forces including three each of BSF, CRPF and two each of CISF and ITBP. Each provides 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel including engineers, electricians, dog squads, technicians and medical/paramedics.

- Role and objectives:

To fight all natural disasters including radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear disasters.

Conduct search and rescue operations in the event of any natural catastrophe.

- Drawbacks of NDRF: However the effectiveness of the NDRF has been hampered due to lack of trained manpower and an absence of systematic training facilities and equipment. A country like India which is disaster prone, there is a need to have a comprehensive planning and implementation.

- It is deprived of necessary funds and infrastructure from the Centre. It is trying hard to raise two additional battalions, which it is supposed to get from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The proposal to add two more battalions from SSB has been pending for more than two years. A major reason for the delay is the unavailability of personnel is that the remuneration is not attractive enough.

- There is great ambiguity in the control and command structure. While the MHA controls funds and execution, the NDMA has administrative control over the force. This results in a tussle between the two. Since the NDMA is an autonomous body with members appointed by the government, the force has to deal with two bosses for everything complicating and delaying processes.

- Most of the states are largely lethargic in creating a disaster response mechanism as mandated by the Disaster Management Act of December 2005. Till now only 16 States have taken some action, and only six states of Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Punjab and Bihar have a modicum of a structure so as to deal with disasters. Of these, Odisha alone has raised an ultra-efficient force which, collaborated with the NDRF, efficiently controlled destruction during the recent cyclones there.

- Uttarakhand even now has just an imitation of a disaster response mechanism. Jammu and Kashmir however had none when floods destroyed the state.


- NDRF has its headquarters at Delhi and was established in 2009.

- Om Prakash Singh is the current director general.

- At present, National Disaster Response Force consists of ten battalions and the total strength of each battalion is approximately 1149.
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