Ministry of Home Affairs decided to treat COVID-19 as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
What is the State Disaster Response Fund?
Constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 by respective states and it is the primary fund available with state governments for responses to notified disasters.
Composition: The Central government contributes 75 per cent towards the SDRF allocation for general category states and UTs, and over 90 per cent for special category states/UTs, which includes northeastern states, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand).
For SDRF, the Centre releases funds in two equal installments as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission.
it supplements the SDRF of a state, in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF.
The disasters covered under the SDRF includecyclones, droughts, tsunamis, hailstorms, landslides, avalanches and pest attacks among others.
The state executive committee headed by the Chief Secretary is authorized to decide on all matters relating to the financing of the relief expenditure from the SDRF.
Features of SDRF:
- SDRF is located in the ‘Public Account’ under ‘Reserve Fund’. (But direct expenditures are not made from Public Account.)
- State Government has to pay interest on a half yearly basis to the funds in SDRF, at the rate applicable to overdrafts.
- The aggregate size of the SDRF for each state, for each year, is as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission.
- The share of GoI to the SDRF is treated as a ‘grant in aid’.
- The financing of relief measures out of SDRF are decided by the State Executive Committee (SEC) constituted under Section 20 of the DM Act. SEC is responsible for the overall administration of the SDRF. However, the administrative expenses of SEC are borne by the State Government from its normal budgetary provisions and not from the SDRF or NDRF.
- The norms regarding the amount to be incurred on each approved item of expenditure (type of disaster) are fixed by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the concurrence of Ministry of Finance. Any excess expenditure has to be borne out of the budget of the state government.
- Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry for overseeing the operation of the SDRF and monitors compliance with prescribed processes.
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audit the SDRF every year.