National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Structure of disaster response in India

Context: Cyclone “NIVAR” is expected to cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry during late evening of 25th November, as a severe cyclonic storm.

Type of DisturbancesAssociated Wind Speed in the Circulation
Low pressure AreaLess than17 knots (<31 kmph)
Depression17 to 27 knots (31 to 49 kmph)
Deep Depression28 to 33 knots (50 to 61 kmph)
Cyclonic Storm34 to 47 knots (62 to 88 kmph)
Severe Cyclonic Storm48 to 63 knots (89 to 118 kmph)
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm64 to 119 knots (119 to 221 kmph)
Super Cyclonic Storm119 knots and above (221 kmph and above)


  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) HQ and Commandants of battalions located at Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are in coordination with the respective state authorities.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

  • It was constituted in 2006 under the Disaster Management Act for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
  • As per National Policy on Disaster Management 2009, the State Governments are also required to raise their own SDRF for quickly responding to disasters.
  • At present, National Disaster Response Force consist of 12 battalions, three each from the BSF and CRPF and two each from CISF, ITBP and SSB.
  • All the 12 battalions have been equipped and trained to respond to natural as well as man-made disasters.
  • Battalions are also trained and equipped for a response during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
  • In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF were deployed for routine law and order duties also but in 2007 it has been made a dedicated force for disaster response related duties.
  • The first major test of disaster for NDRF was Kosi Floods in 2008.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Locations of NDRF BNs

  • These NDRF battalions are located at 12 different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile of country and to cut down the response time for their deployment at disaster site.
  1. Guwahati
  2. Haringhata
  3. Mundali
  4. Arakkonam
  5. Pune
  6. Vadodara
  7. Bhathinda
  8. Ghaziabaad
  9. Patna
  10. Vijayawada
  11. Varanasi
  12. Doimukh

What is a Disaster?

  • The Disaster Management Act defines “disaster” to mean:
  1. A catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area,
  2. Arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence
  3. Which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.

Structure of disaster response in India:

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • The NDMA, as the apex body for disaster management, is headed by the Prime Minister.
  • The general superintendence, direction and control of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is vested in the NDMA.
  • The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) works within the framework of broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA.
  • The NDMA is mandated to deal with all types of disasters; natural or man-made.
  • Whereas, such other emergencies including those requiring close involvement of the security forces and/or intelligence agencies such as terrorism (counter-insurgency), law and order situations, serial bomb blasts, hijacking, air accidents, CBRN weapon systems, mine disasters, port and harbour emergencies, forest fires, oilfield fires and oil spills will continue to be handled by the extant mechanism i.e., National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC).

National Executive Committee (NEC)

  1. It is the executive committee of NDMA.
  2. It is headed by the Union Home secretary.

State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

  • The SDMA, as the apex body for disaster management at the State level, is headed by the Chief Minister. 
  • The State Executive Committee (NEC) is the executive committee of SDMA. It is headed by the Chief Secretary to the State Government.

District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)

  • The DDMA will be headed by the District Collector, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate as the case may be, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson.

Cyclonic Storm – Four Stage Warning

  • The cyclone warnings are issued to state government officials in four stages.
  • The First Stage warning known as “PRE CYCLONE Watch” issued 72 hours in advance contains an early warning about the development of a cyclonic disturbance in the north Indian Ocean, its likely intensification into a tropical cyclone and the coastal belt likely to experience adverse weather.
  • This early warning bulletin is issued by the Director-General of Meteorology himself and is addressed to the Cabinet Secretary and other senior officers of the Government of India including the Chief Secretaries of concerned maritime states.
  • The Second Stage warning is known as “CYCLONE ALERT” is issued at least 48 hrs. in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas.
  • This is issued by the concerned Area Cyclone Warning Centers/Cyclone Warning Centers and Cyclone Warning Division at HQ.
  • The Third Stage warning known as the “CYCLONE Warning” is issued at least 24 hours in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas.
  • Landfall point is forecast at this stage.
  • The Fourth Stage of warning known as “POST LANDFALL OUTLOOK” is issued by the concerned ACWCs/CWCs/and CWD at HQ at least 12 hours in advance of the expected time of landfall.
  • It gives likely direction of movement of the cyclone after its landfall and adverse weather likely to be experienced in the interior areas.
  • Different colour codes are being used for the different stages of the cyclone warning bulletins.
  • Stage of warning          Colour code
  1. Cyclone Alert                 Yellow
  2. Cyclone Warning           Orange
  3. Post Landfall Outlook     Red
  • The special warnings are issued for fishermen four times a day in normal weather and every three hourly in accordance with the four stage warning in case of disturbed weather.

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