"It is important that children have the required set of skills in this area," Singh said as he formally sanctioned a new Rs 290.89 crore scheme for civil defence works.
The Minister, while speaking at an event of the central government's Civil Defence, Home Guards and Fire Services department said, he would also take it up with the Finance Ministry to increase the funds for these units setup at all levels including in the states.
The scheme, unveiled by Singh, is called 'Mainstreaming Civil Defence in Disaster Risk Reduction' and it will be implemented in 32 states and Union Territories during the 12th Five Year plan. Describing the Civil Defence and Home Guard personnel as those who evoke "confidence" amongst the citizens, the Minister said it was necessary to strengthen and make effective this department as he observed that these vital departments were not getting their due and the required respect in the public domain.
Singh recalled his younger days to say that Civil Defence volunteers used to be an essential feature before, during and in the aftermath of a disaster or any man-made or natural challenge. "I know the resources are limited...but I myself will talk and write to the Finance Ministry to make this organisation more effective," he said.