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New Delhi : As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav– celebrating India’s 75 years of glorious Independence- DD News is organising a series of conclaves on themes reflecting policy initiatives taken to better the life of the common man and build a new vibrant India. The DD News Conclave is a platform bringing together eminent dignitaries, policymakers, and domain experts to provide insights and their perspective on the execution and impact of policy initiatives as well as the way forward.

The Conclave is expected to emerge as a major thought platform and offer a blueprint of key ideas guiding major Government initiatives across the country via Doordarshan’s pan-India presence, according to a PIB release.

The third Conclave in this series was held on the topic ‘Reimagining Disaster Management’ with a session moderated by Prof. Santosh Kumar, Professor, NIDM (National Institute of Disaster Management),  and a panel of experts including Krishna S Vatsa, Member NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority), S N Pradhan, DG NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), Dr R K Jenamani, Scientist, IMD, and Agendra Kumar, MD, ESRI India. An enthusiastic studio audience comprising academicians,NGO representatives, and college students interacted with the panellists d uring the session.

Speaking about the Disaster Response Force, also called ‘Angels in Orange’,SN Pradhan said that NDRF and SDRF have over time been able to build credibility and trust with their yeoman service. He stressed on inclusive disaster risk reduction and resilient-infrastructure built around the needs of women, children, and Divyangjan, to ensure appropriate disaster-readiness. Further, he informed that more and more women are joining NDRF battalions, lending a more inclusive approach to rescue operations. He said that since response forces always work in coordination with local volunteers, community-level capacity building becomes a crucial intervention.

Krishna S Vatsa said that NDMA has been training volunteers under ‘Aapda Mitr’ scheme for community-level response. He said that land-use planning must be such that there are no encroachments in the floodplains, thus ensuring ‘Room for River’. Further, there needs to be accurate damage assessment and adequate compensation incorporating socio-economic dimensions, to ensure faster reconstruction and recovery. He highlighted that some of the most disaster-affected regions are inhabited by the marginalised and the poor, and that through Disaster Mitigation Funds, disaster risk reduction may be part of developmental programmes.

Dr Jenamani said that IMD has scaled up data collection and software for climate modelling thus delivering more accurate predictions for cyclones, heat waves, etc. IMD has been issuing impact-based alerts and their quick dissemination through all forms of media. Early warning messages in vernacular languages are being delivered through Whatsapp alerts, mobile networks etc, along with social media and mass media.

Agendra Kumar spoke about role of GIS and spatial mapping. He said that with the help of latest technology, multiple weather sensors, satellite imagery and even data from social media can be incorporated to deliver more accurate forecasts. The Conclave was telecast on October 2, 2021 at 9 pm on DD News.