New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today chaired the first meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority and reviewed the government's preparedness to deal with different types of terrorist attacks and other issues relating to disaster management.
The Authority took a number of important decisions to enable it to function better.It was decided to associate the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Home Affairs as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission with future meetings of the Authority.
Immediate relief and response was assigned to the National Executive Committee. Certain categories of disasters would need a broader approach and the involvement of other agencies.
Therefore, it was decided to continue to have the existing arrangements under the National Crisis Management Committee for dealing with such crises, the PMO said in a statement.
Dr Singh said the setting up of the Authority had marked a ''paradigm shift'' in the Government's approach to disaster management -- from a purely response/relief-centric approach to a more holistic one, covering all aspects like prevention, mitigation, preparedness, relief, response and rehabilitation.
He advised the Authority to develop as a high-level policy-making body capable of providing advice and assistance to states during times of disaster.
''It should be an efficient clearing house for relevant information, lead in capacity building at all levels and ensure that disaster management proceeds in an orderly and cost-effective manner,'' he said.
The objective was to provide focused attention to disaster management and to generally professionalise the entire gamut of disaster management activities.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of citizen awareness in dealing with disaster management.
Among those who attended the meeting were the Vice Chairman Gen (Retd.) N.C. Vij, Members B. Bhattacharjee, Lt Gen (Retd.) Dr.
J.R. Bhardwaj, Dr. Mohan Kanda, Prof. N.V.C. Menon, Mr M.S. Reddy, Ms P. Jyoti Rao, Mr J.K. Sinha, Mr K.M. Singh, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Principal Secretary to PM T.K.A. Nair and Cabinet Secretary R Chandrasekhar.