'Gujarat model can't handle calamities'

Objecting to government's move to downgrading posts in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), former vice-chairperson M Shashidhar Reddy on Tuesday said that the Gujarat model on handling calamities would not work nationally.

Reddy, who resigned after the Modi government was sworn in, shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to hold “more consultations” on the issue, as the move would end up making the NDMA an “adjunct” to the Union Home Ministry as its “attached office”.

The government has decided to downgrade the status of vice-chairperson of NDMA to that of cabinet secretary from cabinet minister rank while that of members from minister of state to secretary of the Union government.

Calling it the government move a “retrograde step”, Reddy said he was sure that the proposal from the ministry was at the instance of Prime Minister's Office and warned that India's disaster preparedness efforts would suffer a set back.

“There has to be a meaningful interaction during the pre-disaster phase on a continuous basis and at the level of the vice-chairperson and the states at the top level. Under the revised scheme it cannot be expected to happen,” Reddy said.

Finding fault with the decision, he said Modi often talks about Gujarat model in different contexts but he felt that NDMA should not be modelled of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority.

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