Tips to Prepare Disaster Management for UPSC Mains

Tips to Prepare Disaster Management for UPSC Mains

“With great power comes great responsibility.” All the aspiring IAS officers should always remember this phrase, as they will be monitoring an entire district as a District Collector once they are recommended for the Civil Services.

During their tenure as a Civil Services officer, there may be chances that they have to deal with unforeseen circumstances, such as, Disasters (Natural or Man-made).

To ensure that our country’s future administrators are well-versed with the knowledge of disaster management and the right approach to confront disasters, UPSC has emphasized the crucial aspect of Disaster Management in the General Studies Paper 3 of UPSC Mains.

Moreover, in the past few years, India has witnessed and fallen prey to various Natural disasters on a big scale. For instance, Cyclone Amphan, Locust Attack, Kerala and Assam Floods, Oil and Gas leak in Assam, Uttrakhand floods, etc created havoc and disrupted human lives to a great extent. 

Also, a significant number of questions are asked in the exam from this section. Hence, studying disaster and its management in detail during the UPSC exam preparation becomes essential.  

Before we proceed further to the tips for Disaster Management preparation, let’s first understand what is Disaster and Disaster Management.

What is Disaster?

According to United Nations, “A disaster is a serious disruption to the functioning of a community, which causes human, material, economic and environmental losses beyond a community’s ability to cope. ”

Disasters can be broadly classified into the below-listed categories:

  • Geological Disasters: Caused due to Earthquakes, Landslides and Mudflows, Large fires, Dam bursts, Mine Fires, etc.
  • Water and Climate Disaster: This includes disruption caused due to Floods, Cloudbursts, Snow Avalanches, Hailstorms, Heatwaves and Coldwaves, Droughts, etc.
  • Biological Disaster: Cattle epidemics, Viral epidemics, Pest attacks, etc.
  • Chemical, Industrial, & Nuclear Disaster: Gas leak incidents, Chemical and Industrial Disasters, Nuclear meltdown, etc.  
  • Man-made Disaster: Chemical spills, explosions, train accidents, biological attacks.

Also read: How to Prepare Governance for UPSC CSE Mains?

What is Disaster Management?

As per the Indian Disaster Management Act, 2005, Disaster Management is a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating, and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for:

  • Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster.
  • Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences.
  • Capacity-building.
  • Preparedness to deal with any disaster.
  • Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster.
  • Evacuation, rescue, and relief.
  • Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

Important Agencies involved in Disaster Management

National Disaster Management Authority: This apex body was established through the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and it is headed by the Prime Minister of India.  National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) supervises, controls, and gives direction to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of India.  

National Executive Committee: This committee prepares the National Plan for Disaster Management as per the guidelines and National Policy on Disaster Management.

National Executive Committee comprises prominent ministerial members from the Government of India (GOI), including the Union Home Secretary (Chairperson) and Secretaries to the GOI like Ministers or Departments of Atomic Energy, Defence, Environment, Drinking Water Supply, Agriculture, etc.

State Disaster Management Authority: The Chief Minister of every state has a vital role to play during a disaster that affects the state, and that’s the prime reason why the Chief Minister heads the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).

Every State government has a State Executive Committee (SEC) that assists SDMA in Disaster Management. 

District Disaster Management Authority: It is headed by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector/District Magistrate. The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has to ensure that all the NDMA and SDMA guidelines are followed by every State government department at the district level.  

Local Authorities: Local authorities too have an essential role to play during critical times of disaster. Municipalities, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), District and Cantonment 11 Institutional & Legal Arrangement Boards, Town Planning, and several other authorities that control and manage Civic services constitute Local Authorities.

Also read: How to Prepare Indian Society for UPSC Mains

How to Prepare Disaster Management for UPSC Mains?

Preparation for the Disaster Management section of the GS Paper 3 requires an intelligent approach and a comprehensive understanding of major disasters that have taken place in the past. However, you should follow the tips listed below for adequate preparation:

  • Be thorough and well-versed with the National Policy on Disaster Management. This will help you craft your answers with all the relevant information, facts, and figures.
  • Identify and study all the probable disasters from the Indian perspective, such as Earthquakes, Floods, Drought, Tsunamis, Landslides, etc.
  • Also study about the Man-made disasters such as chemical spills, explosions, train accidents, Dam bursts, Gas leakage, etc.  
  • Refer to the NDMA guidelines regarding all the disasters and try to incorporate them in your Mains answers to make them more appealing.  
  • Study the procedures and steps followed by the NDMA & SDMA during the recent disasters to get clarity on the functioning of these agencies.
  • Keep track of all the bilateral and multilateral efforts regarding Disaster management and use them in your answers accordingly. For instance, the establishment of The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and the Sendai Framework. 

To understand in a better way, watch this detailed video lecture by Himanshu Sharma Sir, one of our educators of the DREAM TEAM for UPSC:

Disaster Management Questions asked in Previous Year’s Papers- UPSC Mains

2020 Mains Question:

Discuss the recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India departing from the earlier reactive approach.

2019 Mains Question:

Vulnerability is an essential element for defining disaster impacts and its threat to people. How and in what ways can vulnerability to disasters be characterized? Discuss different types of vulnerability with reference to disasters.

2018 Mains Question:

Describe various measures taken in India for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) before and after signing ‘Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030)’. How is this framework different from ‘Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005?

2017 Mains Question:

On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on 14 countries including India. Discuss the factors responsible for the occurrence of Tsunami and its effects on life and the economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.

2016 Mains Question:

  • With reference to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate the impact of the recent incidents of cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand.
  • The frequency of urban floods due to high-intensity rainfall is increasing over the years. Discussing the reasons for urban floods. highlight the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.

2015 Mains Question:

The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects.

So, you can imagine the broad range of important questions that the UPSC has asked over the years. All that you need is a perfect training partner that will equip you with the necessary information and give you adequate room for practice.

PrepLadder is one such resource that offers comprehensive learning material for aspiring Civil Servants.  It has everything required to crack the UPSC Civil Services examination on one platform.

It includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by our Dream Team for UPSC, a well-structured and high yield QBank, highly competitive PrepTests based on real exam patterns, and Previous Year Papers in the form of tests

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All the best for your exam.

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Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.