Following PM Modi’s meeting with the Chief Ministers of the various states on the 3rd of April the Home Ministry issued a press release announcing the approval of Rs. 11,092 crores towards the State Disaster Response Management Fund.
The State Disaster Response Management Fund is created under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 which is the primary source of funding for states during a crisis. The Disaster Management Act usually is invoked in cases of calamities such ac tsunamis, earthquakes etc. however had been invoked by the government on the 24th March via an order issued. The fund is used to provide immediate relief to people in a crisis and not for restoration.
The Ministry of Home Affairs stated in the release the use for the additional funds, which said,
“With a view to make available additional funds to the State Governments for taking preventive and mitigation measures for containment of COVID-19, Central Government on 14.03.2020 has already made a special dispensation for utilization of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).”
The ministry said that these funds would be used to set up additional quarantine facilities, tools for collection of samples and screening of potential victims, setting up of testing laboratory facilities, procuring personal protective equipment, purchase of ventilators and medical equipment for government hospitals.
Previously the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a government order requiring states to provide shelter for migrant workers wishing to go back to their home states. The press release clarified that following the order on 28th of March, the funds could be utilised for doing so.
The Act under which the fund is constituted allows the funds to be utilised for all the reasons mentioned above and also has provisions that allows for the proper accounting of the procurements made under the said fund. A controlling officer is appointed by the National, State or District authority whichever is appropriate at the level at which it is utilised. This officer issues a certificate that can be considered a valid document for accounting the provisions or materials that are purchsed using the said funds.
The fund is allocated money on a yearly basis, however under these special circumstances the government has decided to provide these funds earlier than before for the year 2020-21. With additional help provided, the central government aims at ensuring swifter response to the pandemic is provided and financial hindrances are all removed.
Tags : Ministry of Home Affairs, Disaster Management Act, SDRMF, COVID-19