Assess the significance of disaster-resilient infrastructure. Also, discuss how can it strengthen India’s zero casualty policy in managing extreme weather events?

Demand of the Question:
Introduction-Define Disaster resilience infrastructure and its Significance with data.
Body- Elaborate India’s Zero Casualty policy and the role of Disaster resilient infrastructure in augmenting it during extreme weather events.
Conclusion: Conclude with Coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure initiative.
According to data from the Central Water Commission (CWC), the cost of damages from climate-related extreme weather events on infrastructure and housing has been INR 3,65,860 crore, or three percent of India’s GDP. which reiterates the importance of Disaster resilient infrastructure. Example: The August 2018 floods in Kerala destroyed 280,000 houses, 140,000 hectares of standing crops, and about 70,000 kilometres of road network.
Disaster resilient infrastructure (DRI) is planned, designed, built and operated in a way that anticipates, prepares for, and adapts to changing climate conditions. It can also withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions caused by disasters both natural as well as anthropogenic in nature.

  1. Securing and safeguarding critical infrastructure: Majority of the largest and most dense coastal urban agglomerations such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Visakhapatnam are hubs of critical infrastructure and assets that contribute to the nation’s economy and growth: transport and freight networks, road and rail corridors, industrial zones and parks, maritime and port facilities, petroleum industries, and 12 refineries.
  2. Unlocking Development potential: World Bank had estimated that the economic losses due to disasters during the late nineties and early years of this century were close to 2% of the GDP. Making the infrastructure of the most vulnerable coastal regions “climate-proof” would allow the resources to be utilised for constructive welfare projects and economic programmes.
  3. Better resource mobilization: The nine coastal states, collectively, receive more than 60.13% of India’s FDI (foreign direct investments) inflow which will be kept intact with better disaster resilience infrastructure.
  4. Ensuring growth and development: Reducing the burden of background risk by increasing the resilience of infrastructure would generate benefits that extend across sectors to the macroeconomic level. Example: Protecting coastal regions, towns, business districts, or ports with flood protection infrastructure, will foster economic activity, long-term planning and capital investments.
  5. Co-benefits: building new resilient infrastructure or retrofitting existing ones would create Co-benefits for Examples: Flood protection infrastructure would create a provision of reliable water supplies and hydroelectricity. Raised water wells provides clean water throughout the year. The installation of dedicated irrigation systems to overcome the impact of droughts has also
  6. helped farmers to increase their productivity and output, while also reducing soil erosion and deforestation by optimising previously inefficient farming practices.
  7. Global convergence and partnership: Focus on disaster resilient infrastructure would simultaneously address the loss reduction targets under the Sendai Framework, address a number of SDGs and also contribute to climate change adaptation.
    India’s Zero Casualty Policy: It refers to Indian Meteorological Department’s “almost pinpoint accuracy” of early warnings that helped authorities conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan and minimise the loss of life against extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani. India’s zero casualty approach to managing extreme weather events is a major contribution to the implementation of the Sendai framework and the reduction of loss of life from such events.
  8. The primary objective of DRI is to save lives, especially economically weaker sections of society, women and children, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and hence, will be benefited from creating disaster resilient infrastructure.
  9. It will also benefit all areas with high disaster risk viz, north-eastern and Himalayan regions are prone to earthquakes, coastal areas to cyclones and tsunamis and the central peninsular region to droughts demands localised disaster resilience infrastructure.

The path of Cyclone Fani was closely monitored by the India Meteorological Department, which issued frequent advisories. The department’s precise early warnings helped the authorities to conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan and the local authorities declared holidays for schools, closed airports and other services which helped to reduce the high rate of mortality. The Disaster

preparedness of India during Cyclone Fani was praised by UN agency as it effectively minimised loss of life and it even called for replicating it in other similar occurrences.
India has taken a major step in this regard by heading the setting up of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and has pledged INR 480 crore to the CDRI to help fund technical assistance and research projects, setting up of offices and covering recurring expenditures for the next five years. With better design, planning, adaptation and mitigation measures we can significantly reduce the impact of disasters for our people in the near future.

Citing specific examples, discuss the reasons behind industrial disasters in India. Also, mention the steps that have been taken to tackle these disasters.

Demand of the Question
Introduction: industrial disasters overview
Body: reasons behind industrial disasters with examples, steps taken to tackle them
Conclusion: as per context
In the last decade, 130 significant chemical accidents were reported in India, which resulted in 259 deaths and 563 number of major injuries. Such accidents are significant in terms of injuries, pain, suffering, loss of lives, damage to property and environment. India continued to witness a series of chemical accidents even after comprehensive legal/ institutional framework existing in our country.
Reasons behind industrial disasters in India:
● Process and safety systems failures: this could be due to Human errors, Technical errors or Management errors
● Gas leak such as the leak of methyl isocyanate resulting in the Bhopal gas tragedy, chlorine gas leak at Jamshedpur, Fire at oil and natural gas corporation of India, Bombay high witnessed a huge fire
● Chemical accidents resulted from natural disasters: ammonia gas leaked at Oswal Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd at Paradip, Odisha, during a supercyclone, and an earthquake damaged a phosphoric acid sludge containment at Bhuj, Gujarat.
● Lack of environment impact and social impact assessment: the reckless and irresponsible spread of industries in India without proper assessment during the selection of location
● Lack of proper disaster management plan: lack of accountability and liability has resulted in the lack of a proper disaster management plan to safeguard the workers in case of accidents
● Management of hazardous waste: Dumping of hazardous waste in the water bodies or landfills without proper treatment has been a tag along for the industrial disasters. For example, Nitta gelatin issue in Kerala

The rules governing the industries have been strengthened since the Bhopal tragedy.
● The Factories Act, 1948: amended to extend the scope of risk from such industries to the general public in the vicinity of the factory
● Absolute liability: The supreme court has ruled that an enterprise which is engaged in a hazardous or inherently dangerous industry owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community to ensure that no harm results to anyone on account of the nature of the activity which it has undertaken
● Compensation: adequate compensation to be provided to the victims which will have a deterrence effect on such industries
● The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986: amended to have provisions for management of hazardous waste
● Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules: provide for means of safe storage and disposal of “hazardous waste” with the help of central and state pollution control boards.
● Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules: address gas leaks and similar events
● Central crisis group: to constantly monitor post-accident situations, conduct analyses of these accidents and suggest preventive steps to avoid recurrence
● Public Liability Insurance Act: to provide for immediate and interim relief to disaster victims till their claims of compensation were finally decided
● National Green Tribunal act has a “principle of no-fault liability”, which means that the company can be held liable even if it had done everything in its power to prevent the accident.
● NDMA guidelines on chemical disasters: intended to be a “proactive, participatory, well-structured, fail-safe,multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach” to tackle chemical disasters.
● Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act: has provision for compensation of more than INR 100 crore, which could reach up to INR 1,500 crore, depending on severity in case of nuclear accidents
● Safety guidelines: proper guidelines are mandatory for the industries with regular safety training, evacuation drills and discipline etc. to create a culture of safety in the industries.
India continued to witness a series of chemical accidents even after Bhopal had demonstrated the vulnerability of the country to such accidents. In the make in India era where we seek to increase the presence of foreign industries in India, a more comprehensive and serious approach is to be undertaken to prevent such accidents.


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