Recently the Indian government invoked Section 35 of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 to better deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.
- The 21-day lockdown was imposed by invoking the National Disaster Management (NDM) Act, 2005. The Union home ministry has also issued regulations to ensure strict compliance and enforcement of the lockdown invoking the same Act, the violation of which can result in imprisonment of up to two years.
- The Act permits the Union government to constitute inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs) and dispatch them to states to make on-spot assessments, issue necessary directions to state authorities, and submit their report to the Centre.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted six such teams which are, for the moment, headed by bureaucrats and will tour affected areas to report omissions and commissions by the state governments in the management of the Covid-19 situation.
- These include incidents of violence on frontline health care professionals, violations of social distancing norms, and movement of vehicles in urban areas.
- The centre has declared COVID-19 as a “notified disaster” and as a “critical medical condition or pandemic situation”.
- This will allow the government to use the National Disaster Response Fund to contain the rise in COVID-19 cases and to make policies at the national, state and district levels.