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NDMA functioning draws CAG ire, dubbed ineffective

NDMA functioning draws CAG ire, dubbed ineffective
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has drawn flak from the CAG, which said that the apex planning and supervising body’s handling of calamities has been found to be ineffective in most  key areas. In its performance audit report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said it has found that despite considerable progress in setting up institutions and creating funding arrangements, there are critical gaps in the preparedness level for various disasters.

‘The NDMA, which was conceived as the apex planning and supervising body, was found ineffective in its functioning in most of the core areas. It neither had information and control over the progress of work at the state level nor was it successful in implementation of various projects,’ stated the CAG  report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

The auditor said coordination between NDMA and nodal ministries for various disasters need to be improved and roles and responsibilities amongst the apex bodies at the national level need to be clearly specified.It said  the system, which came into effect in preparedness level for various disasters after the Disaster Management Act 2005, was yet to achieve its desired impact.

The CAG said that the National Executive Committee had not met after May 2008, although the country faced many disasters since then and this had affected the evaluation of the disaster preparedness at all levels of government. The CAG said the performance of NDMA in terms of project implementation had been abysmal. So far, no major project taken up by NDMA had seen completion.

'It was noticed that NDMA selected projects without proper ground work and as a result either the projects were abandoned midway or were incomplete after considerable period.

In many cases, NDMA realised midway that some other agency was already executing projects with similar objectives,' stated the report.

The auditor said NDMA experimented with varying strategies to undertake projects. All agencies appointed to execute the work, were appointed on nomination basis.The project designs and scope were revised midway and timelines were mostly absent and wherever timelines were given, they were adhered to.

The CAG said according to a Cabinet Note on Organisational Structure of the NDMA, it was to review all major on-going national projects in sectors of education, housing, rural development, urban development and other infrastructural projects of roads, bridges etc. to include structural requirements for disaster reduction.

'We, however, noted that NDMA had not been performing the task assigned to it by the Cabinet,' stated the report.
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