Set up disaster mitigation fund to tackle drought: SC to Centre

By: | Published: May 12, 2016 6:27 AM

Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to create a disaster mitigation fund within three months to tackle drought-like situation and also, directed the agriculture ministry to hold a meeting within a week with affected states like Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana.

drought in indiaSupreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to create a disaster mitigation fund within three months to tackle drought-like situation and also, directed the agriculture ministry to hold a meeting within a week with affected states like Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana. (AP)

Slamming state governments for an “ostrich-like attitude” of burying their heads in the sand and denying reality, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to create a disaster mitigation fund within three months to tackle drought-like situation and also, directed the agriculture ministry to hold a meeting within a week with affected states like Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana.

Issuing a slew of directions to address the ongoing drought situation in the country, a bench headed by Justice M B Lokur directed the Centre to formulate a national plan, revise the existing drought management manual that has not been updated since 2009, and also lay down a standard methodology and timeframe for declaring a drought on scientific grounds.

Further, it asked the Centre to use modern technology for an early determination of drought. The SC also directed the Centre to be proactive and not introduce “the concept of federalism” to delegate responsibilities, saying its only role is to provide financial assistance to states.

Humanitarian factors such as migration from affected areas, suicides, extreme distress, the plight of women and kids were some of the factors that ought to be kept in mind by state governments and the Centre while updating and revising the drought manual, it said.

Impact of drought pegged at Rs 6.5L cr

Drought in 10 states is estimated to impact the economy by at least Rs 6,50,000 crore as about 33 crore people across 256 districts are facing the grave situation, a study has revealed.

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