Sphere India has asked the finance minister to institutionalise disaster risk and climate change adaptation budgeting in the union budgets to mark the shift from contingent liability approach of public financing to a risk management approach.
Concerned about India’s growing vulnerability to climate changes and induced hazards of intense magnitude and frequency, Sphere India, a national coalition in the country of humanitarian, DRR, Climate Risk Management, Development actors has written to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, asking her ministry to revise the methodology for determining allocations for resilience and adaptation programmes.
The umbrella group has sought combining socio-economic and location-wise vulnerability profiles of communities with realistic impact by harnessing available disaggregated data.
Data from the World Meteorological Organisation released on the heels of COP26 that said that India lost US$ 87 billion due to natural disasters in 2020. The World Economic Forum too has documented 321 extreme weather-related events the country has experienced over 20 years.
The group has sought the finance minister’s intervention to institutionalise disaster risk and climate change adaptation budgeting in the union budgets to mark the shift from contingent liability approach of public financing to a risk management approach.
Arguing for devolving risk reduction and climate change adaptation resources to third tiers of governance, the group has suggested that programmes can be implemented locally “with leeway to redesign and introduce new programmes based on vulnerability and exposure profile of the regions and people monitored by the NDMA.”
In the same breath – and contentious as it might seem in the backdrop of the government upping the ante against NGOs in recent months – Sphere India has proposed for facilitating government-NGO public review of the existing financial arrangements for their adequacy and return on investments on risk reduction and climate change adaptation indicators and invite inputs.
By examining the effectiveness of existing relief and risk mitigation and climate change adaptation programmes “in a consultative process with humanitarian and development actors working on the forefront during emergencies,” will also afford the survivors and communities to participate in this inclusive process, Sphere India has said in its letter to the finance minister.
The group of humanitarians working outside the government’s own machinery have also batted for the government’s own disaster management and disaster response machinery. The representation to the finance minister asks for more allocations to state governments under the national disaster response force (NDRF) and “proper revision of NDRF norms and standards based on currently prevalent costs.”
Vulnerable groups and communities
Sphere India has also advocated for government to make budgetary provisions for undertaking recovery and preparedness programmes for agricultural labour, landless and unorganised workers’, migrant workers’ losses in disasters in a comprehensive manner, based on vulnerability and risk exposure methods prescribed in the report of the 15th finance commission.
The group of humanitarian actors has asked for a provision for disaster and climate risk budgeting to adopt “population proportionate allocations for ensuring special resilience and capacity needs of the vulnerable groups are met along with targeted programmes.”
It has argued that communities and groups such as dalits and tribal people, children, women and disabled people bear an unequal impact of climate induced disasters. In this light, the letters says that the share of these groups in the union budget should be commensurate to their vulnerabilities.
The humanitarian grouping has called for attention to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB 2019) that says that ‘accidental deaths due to forces of nature and other causes 2015-2019 recorded an increase of 18.2 per cent.”
Image: Sphere India