Disaster agency posts vacant, says House panel

Disaster agency posts  vacant, says House panel

A Parliamentary panel has refused to buy Union Home Ministry’s argument that there is no shortage of staff in National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), saying it wonders as to how it functions when it has  so many vacancies including that of vice-chairperson.

The Standing Committee on Home Affairs, led by Congress MP P Bhattacharya, said it is constrained to express its “displeasure” that the critical posts in NDMA are vacant.

The panel’s remarks came after perusing Home Ministry’s Action Taken Report on the recommendations made in February last year.

The Ministry had informed the panel that all critical posts except those of financial advisor and  advisor operations are filled up. “Action has been taken to fill these two posts and it is expected that these posts will be filled very soon. In brief, out of 123 sanctioned posts, 59 are vacant. A large number of vacant posts are coterminous in nature and have been kept vacant due to, e.g., resignation of vice-chairman and members. As soon as the members are appointed, these vacancies will be filled,” the Ministry said.

The Minstry also said NDMA has been provided regular staff consisting of secretary, advisors, joint secretaries and other officers. “Besides this, NDMA is also having domain specialists and consultants. As such there is no shortage of staff,” it said. However, the committee was not impressed. “The Committee is constrained to express its displeasure that the critical posts in NDMA like those of financial advisor and advisor operation are vacant and vice chairman and some members are yet to be appointed, therefore, the committee wonders as to how the system in NDMA is functioning since it has vital role to play and responsibility to discharge,” it said.

The panel said it is not buying the contention of the government keeping in mind vacancies of the vice-chairman and other members of NDMA.

“The constitution of the authority is still pending with vacancies for more than eight months. The committee feels that the country can ill afford indecisiveness at the apex level in the matter of disaster management. The Committee therefore strongly recommends that the posts of the vice chairman and other members should be filled without further delay,” the panel said.

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