Strengthening disaster risk management in India: a review of five state disaster management plans

Research reports and studies
July 2016

This report analyses in detail the state disaster management plans from five very different Indian states: Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha and Uttarakhand. India has suffered from many natural hazard-related disasters in its recent history, including those influenced by climate change, and these continue to cause devastation. From 2002 to 2013, India was among the five countries most frequently hit by disasters.

The Disaster Management Act of 2005 provided a robust policy framework for dealing with natural hazards. Since then, many states and union territories have developed state disaster management plans (SDMPs). Furthermore, 80% of the country’s districts have created district disaster management plans. Together, these policies guide the actions of several institutions, including the National Disaster Management Authority, the National Institute of Disaster Management, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the state disaster management authorities and the district disaster management authorities.

These policies have already proven effective in helping India to deal with disasters. Despite this and other successes, however, there is room to further strengthen the policy architecture for disaster risk management in India. As the primary responsibility for dealing with disasters lies with state governments, the key operational policies that guide disaster risk management actions across the country are the SDMPs.