Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday called for the setting up institutional mechanisms for providing immediate funds to people to help them recover from losses caused by natural disasters.
Addressing the first session of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction here, Dr. Singh said, the current systems, particularly at the national level, lack institutional incentives and do no promote risk insurance and contingent credit facilities.
"The development of such ex-ante arrangements is particularly important because they typically serve as a primary source of immediate funding that would reduce human suffering, economic losses and fiscal pressures in the aftermath of natural disasters. I hope to see some good suggestions in this regard emerging from this important conference," he added.
He said national disaster management strategies must be able to meet increasing challenges posed by climate change.
"Disaster management is an area of vital national importance to our country. As we all know, India is vulnerable to a large range of natural and man-made disasters. Events like earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones, landslides and industrial accidents have been a cause of great misery and suffering in our country," he said.
"In recent years, climate change has posed fresh new challenges that our disaster management strategies should be able to cope with. These are in the form of the increased intensity and frequency of disasters like floods, cyclones and droughts. It is estimated that the chances of future extreme events would be much higher than what they are today because of the changes that continue to occur in our climate patterns. We must therefore ensure that disaster preparedness and development of adequate disaster response mechanisms receive priority attention," he added.
The Prime Minister said making risk reduction an intrinsic part of the development process would help to avoid devastating losses that cause significant set backs.
"The theme of today's conference is about making risk reduction an intrinsic part of our development processes by including prevention and mitigation strategies in them. This is indeed a very prudent course of action and would avoid possible losses that could be devastating in nature and could cause significant setbacks to the development of a state or a region," he said.
"This is also an internationally accepted norm since it is much more cost-effective than simply responding to disasters after they have occurred. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals reflect a global commitment towards reducing risk for overall sustainable development," he added.
Emphasizing on involving local communities in disaster risk reduction activities, Dr. Singh told authorities to pay special attention in making full use of Panchayati Raj institutions in Disaster mitigation and risk reduction efforts.
"I believe that the integration of disaster risk reduction strategies into our development initiatives must necessarily involve actively the local communities. We must, therefore, make full use of our Panchayat Raj institutions to achieve this objective. I would urge you to pay special attention to this very important aspect.," he added. (ANI)