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Civil Defence Volunteers Against Covid-19

  • 16 Apr 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

More than 50,000 Civil Defence volunteers are assisting the local administration in implementing the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

  • Provisions under the State Disaster Relief Fund have been made by the central government for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to be used by the deployed workers.

Key Points

  • All States and Union Territories barring Ladakh, Daman & Diu, and Puducherry have deployed civil defence personnel.
    • Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Assam have taken the lead in using their services.
  • The volunteers have been deployed under the command of District Magistrates to assist the local administration in implementing the Covid-19 guidelines and policies effectively.
  • Contributions of the Volunteers:
    • Supplementing the local administration in conducting surveillance of suspected and confirmed Covid-19 cases by working as rapid response teams.
    • Manning hunger helplines and assisting elderly citizens.
    • Helping in the maintenance of essential supplies, like packing and home distribution of ration and medicines.
    • Supplementing health workers and also carrying out community awareness drives on social distancing and hygiene practices.
    • Distributing PPEs, masks and sanitisers.
    • Setting up community kitchens and shelters for migrant workers and other stranded persons.

Civil Defence

  • Civil Defence measures are designed to deal with immediate emergency conditions, protect the public and restore vital services and facilities that have been destroyed or damaged by disaster.
  • These operate under the Civil Defence Act, 1968 and associated rules and regulations.
    • The Act was amended in 2009 and in 2010, disaster management was included as an additional role.
    • It is applicable throughout the nation.
  • Although it is a Central law, Section 4 of the Civil Defence Act empowers State governments to raise corps at the local administration level as per their requirement.
    • The District Magistrate, District Collector or Deputy Commissioner is designated as Controller of the Civil Defence.
  • Objectives:
    • To save the life, to minimize loss of property, to maintain continuity of production and to keep high up the morale of the people.
    • During times of war and emergencies, to guard the hinterland, support the Armed forces, mobilise the citizens and help civil administration.
    • It not only includes the management of damage against conventional weapons but also the management of threat perceptions against Nuclear weapons, Biological & Chemical Warfare and natural and man-made disasters.
  • It is primarily organised on a voluntary basis except for a small nucleus of paid staff and establishment which is augmented during emergencies.
  • Central Financial Assistance: The central government reimburses 25% of the expenditure (50% for North-eastern states except for Assam) incurred by the State Government on the authorized items of Civil Defence for raising, training and equipping of Civil Defence Service.

Source: TH

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