India’s flood management:
At least 43 years after India’s first and last commission on India’s flood management was constituted, there is no national-level flood control authority in the country so far.
National Flood Commission
- Rashtriya Barh Ayog or the National Flood Commission (NFC) was set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in 1976.
- It aimed to study India’s flood-control measures after the projects launched under the National Flood Control Programme of 1954 failed to achieve much success.
What are the recommendations of the National flood commission?
- In 1980, the NFC made 207 recommendations and four broad observations:
- First, it said there was no increase in rainfall in India and, thus, the increase in floods was due to anthropogenic factors such as deforestation, drainage congestion and badly planned development works.
- Second, it questioned the effectiveness of the methods adopted to control floods, such as embankments and reservoirs, and suggested that the construction of these structures be halted till their efficacy was assessed.
- Third, it said there has to be consolidated efforts among the states and the Centre to take up research and policy initiatives to control floods.
- Fourth, it recommended a dynamic strategy to cope with the changing nature of floods. An analysis of the report suggested that the problem began with the methods of estimating flood-prone areas of the country.
Is the time ripe for bringing back NFC?
- An accurate estimate is crucial for framing flood management programmes.
- The NFC estimated that the total area vulnerable to floods in 1980 was around 40 million hectares.
- There is another problem. The very definition of flood-prone area does not reflect the effectiveness of the flood management works undertaken.
Q) India needs to focus on both structural and non-structural measures to handle flood management. Comment.