TE Raja Simhan
Rebuilding and mitigation measures for those affected by natural calamities have to be undertaken by the State governments from their own resources/State schemes, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai has said.
The primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the State government, Rai said in reply to a query raised in the Lok Sabha by MK Vishnu Prasad, MP from the Arani constituency.
However, to supplement the States’ efforts, the Centre extends logistics and financial support in rescue and relief efforts, he said.
The clarification comes in the wake of higher allocation of Central funds sought by the States affected by natural calamities.
None of the cyclones that hit the coastal States during the last three years was of the level of ‘super cyclone’ , the Minister said when Prasad queried on the total amount of assistance given to Tamil Nadu for natural calamities and ‘super cyclones,’ and if the Centre would consider the State’s request for increasing the grants.
In the last three years, the Centre released a total of ₹4,869 crore, the Minister said. The Centre provides financial assistance to the affected States from the SDRF and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for immediate relief. Funds under SDRF are fixed on the basis of the Finance Commission recommendations. The allocation for the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 is based on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission and the annual allocation of all the States, including Tamil Nadu, increased 5 per cent every year, he said.
In the last three years, Tamil Nadu witnessed severe cyclonic storms Vardah, Ockhi and Gaja which caused heavy damage to infrastructure. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in January requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accord a special sanction of 2 lakh additional houses to affected coastal districts under PMAY(G) Special Projects to Tamil Nadu.
Gaja inflicted extensive damage to people living in kutcha houses and huts especially in the districts of Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai. An immediate relief assistance of ₹5,200 sanctioned under SDRF was sought by the State government.