Sr. No. PARTICULARS Page No.
1 Introduction 2
2 History 3
3 Location of NDRF Battalions 5
4 Training and Mock Drills 7
5 Community Based Disaster Preparedness 9
6 Workshops/Exhibitions 10
7 Tie Ups 12
8 Role of NDRF 14
9 Capabilities and Strength of NDRF 15
10 Disaster Response 16
11 Loopholes In Working of NDRF 28
12 Future of NDRF 30
13 Conclusion 31
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a disaster response agency under National
Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) created by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government
of India. It was established in 2009 in Delhi, for disaster management and specialized response
to natural and man-made disasters. Functioning at state and central-level under the National
Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) based in Delhi, it consists of ten battalions of Central
Armed Police Forces, including three each of the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve
Police Force (CRPF), and two each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Indo-
Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
NDRF operates under a Director General appointed by the Central Government. The NDRF
undertakes immediate relief operations after a disaster. A 10,000 strong force-handpicked from
the CRPF, CISF, ITBP and the BSF has undergone training relating to relief operations.
At present, National Disaster Response Force consists of ten battalions, two each from
the BSF, CRPF, two CISF and ITBP. Each battalion will provide 18 self-contained specialist
search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog
squads and medical/paramedics. The total strength of each battalion is approximately 1,149.
Vision of NDRF is to emerge as the most visible and vibrant multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled,
high-tech force capable to deal with all types of natural as well as manmade disasters and to
mitigate the effects of disasters.
Motto of NDRF is motto “AAPDA SEVA SADAIV” which is clearly visible in its logo.
Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and
Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist
response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to
the enactment of the Disaster Management Act (DM Act) on 26 Dec 2005. The National Disaster
Management Authority (NDMA) was constituted to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines
for disaster management.
The DM Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response
Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 08 Battalions (02 Battalions each from BSF,
CRPF, ITBP and CISF). As on date NDRF is having strength of 10 Battalions. Each NDRF
Battalions consists of 1149 personnel. Union cabinet has also approved the conversion/up-
gradation of 02 Battalions from SSB. The force is gradually emerging as the most visible and
vibrant multi–disciplinary, multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone force capable of dealing with all
types of natural and man-made disasters. All the ten battalions are being equipped and trained to
combat all natural disasters including four battalions in combating radiological, nuclear,
biological and chemical disasters.
The DM Act, 2005 envisages a paradigm shift from the erstwhile response centric syndrome to a
proactive, holistic and integrated management of disasters with emphasis on prevention,
mitigation and preparedness. This national vision inter alia, aims at inculcating a culture of
preparedness among all stakeholders.
NDRF has proved its importance in achieving this vision by highly skilled rescue and relief
operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, capacity building & familiarization
exercises within the area of responsibility of respective NDRF Battalions, carrying out mock
drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.
LOCATION OF NDRF BATTALIONS:
These NDRF battalions are located at ten different locations in the country based on the
vulnerability profile of country and to cut down the response time for their deployment at
TRAINING AND MOCK DRILLS:
The key to efficient disaster response depends primarily on effectiveness of training and re-
training of “specialized disaster response forces”. With this vision, a detailed “Training Regime
for Disaster Response” has been prepared by NDRF identifying the specific disaster response
training courses and devising a unified, structured and uniform course module as well as syllabus
for these training courses.
The proportion behind a unified, structured, uniform course module and syllabus is that first the
entire NDRF battalions will successfully attain these courses and subsequently the State Disaster
Response Forces and other stakeholders will be trained on the same lines. The need of uniformly
structured course module emerged from the fact that if all the NDRF battalions and other ‘first
responders’ undergo the training exercise, the coordination between different stakeholders would
be expedient and well planned at the time of any major disaster where different NDRF battalions,
SDRF battalions and other stakeholders will be working together in close coordination with each
NDRF also organizes mock drills in which it creates real life environment so that its members
are trained for every possible situation. Training under real life environment helps NDRF
member to handle pressure in face of real disasters.
Mock drills help NDRF to identify their mistakes and correct them as it would be fatal if these
mistakes are made during the times of actual disasters. They also help NDRF to improve their
response time and improve their quality as a unit. Mock drills also provide an insight to the
common people of the working of NDRF.
NDRF personnel are trained in prestigious institutes like NISA, DRDO, BARC, CME, Army,
Navy and Air Force as well in foreign countries like USA, Singapore, China, Finland, Korea,
Some of the important trainings undertaken abroad are
• OPCW Chemical Emergency Course, Finland,
• Management of Dead Bodies, Geneva, Switzerland,
• Advanced Search & Rescue Course, Florida, USA,
• Chemical Exercise, OPCW, Tehran, Iran,
• Bioterrorism Table top Exercise, Montreux, Switzerland.
COMMUNITY BASED DISASTER PREPAREDNESS:
Awareness and preparedness campaigns are key components of proactive approach on Disaster
Management. In case of any disaster, the local population is the actual first responder. It may
take some time for the district/ state administration to mobilize rescue teams, including police,
fire personnel etc. If the local person is properly sensitized about the precautions and preventive
actions to be taken in case of any calamity, the loss of life and damage to property can be
drastically reduced. Thus, one of the most important tasks of NDRF is to continuously engage
themselves in the Community Capacity Building and Public Awareness programmes in a big
way which includes training of people (the first responders) and concerned government officials
at different levels in the areas with high vulnerability. Along with Community Capacity
Building and Public Awareness exercises NDRF is also actively engaged in area familiarization
exercises. Such exercises provide first-hand knowledge about the topography, access route to
various disaster prone areas, availability of local infrastructure/ logistics which can be used in
disaster response operations.
NDRF Battalion Pune put up an exhibition of International standard at TechFest 2010 (The
annual International Science and Technology Festival of IIT Mumbai) and organized
demonstrations on Heli-Rescue, Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue, High-Rise Building
Rescue and Dog Show between 22–24 Jan 2010 aimed at generate awareness among the visitors.
TechFest 2010 was inaugurated by Gen. N. C. Vij. Honorable vice-chairman, NDMA. This
three-day event witnessed more than 70,000 visitors, 15,000 participants, nearly 2,000 colleges
and approximately 5,000 members of Industry and academia. The exhibition and demonstrations
of NDRF were highly appreciated by the visitors.
Some of the important exhibitions organized by NDRF are as below:
• UNOCHA, Annual USAR Team Leaders Meeting – 13–15 March 2007
• 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction – Nov 2007
• Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Management’ at Itanagar, Aurnachal Pradesh – 17–18 April
• Workshop on ‘Disaster Preparedness’ at Shillong, Meghalaya – 10–11 June 2008
• Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ at Agartala, Tripura – 12–13 Dec 2008
• Exhibition on Disaster Management, Army Training Command at Bhubaneswar, Orissa –
13–14 Dec 2008.
• A workshop cum exhibition on Disaster Management, University of Pune, Maharashtra –
12–13 Jan 2009
• Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ at Aizawl, Mizoram – 11–12 June 2009
• TechFest 2010 (The annual International Science and Technology Festival of IIT
Mumbai) – 22–24 Jan 2010
• Technika 2010, the annual technical festival of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra −26
• Exhibition on Disaster Awareness, Bihar Divas at Gandhi Maidan, Patna – 22–24 March
• Participation in TATPAR 2010 (Mega-Exhibition on disaster management organized by
Disaster Management Department of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) at
Shivaji Park, Mumbai – 26–27 Feb 2010
Tie up with AIIMS:
To provide quick and effective medical care, NDRF has signed a MoU with Apex Trauma
Centre of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
"Under this MOU, both the organizations intend to have co-operation which shall allow them the
opportunity and the instrument to develop and implement mutually beneficial and agreed upon
activities, programs and training," said NDRF DG.
He said that the collaboration between NDRF and Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS will be in the
field of capacity building initiatives with particular focus on providing medical care during
disaster response operations. As per MOU, on the request of NDRF, Apex Trauma Centre of
AIIMS will provide medical experts, nurses and para-medics for deployment along with search
and rescue teams of NDRF during major natural disasters within the country.
This arrangement will facilitate in establishing a proper field hospital with the support of medical
component of NDRF. This arrangement will facilitate in establishing a proper field hospital with
the support of medical component of NDRF. Consequently, Apex Trauma Centre will send a list
of qualified and willing medical specialists and experts to NDRF to participate in rescue and
relief operations on humanitarian grounds.
"NDRF will be extending all administrative support to such experts for their efficient
functioning. This MOU will be helpful to NDRF in improving the efficiency of its medical
officers, nurses and para-medics in the form of on-the-job training and hands-on experience in
handling emergency cases," Singh added.
The 10,000 strong NDRF force has so far rescued over 4.21 lakh people from disaster situations
and retrieved close to 2,000 dead bodied. It has also trained over 35.5 lakh volunteers through
various community capacity building programmes.
Tie up with Google during Uttarakhand floods:
People with no clue about the location of their friends and relatives stranded in J&K can now
simply Google it. In the absence of a central database on the status of those trapped in the state,
the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has tied up with the search engine to upload data
that can be accessed by anyone.
The rescue operations in the state are beset with the same problems faced during the 2013
Uttarakhand floods. With phone lines down, multiple agencies involved in rescue efforts and no
central database of the missing or rescued; no one knows who is alive, missing or dead. To bring
clarity, Google.org has made a special page on the J&K crisis using its web application — the
Google Person Finder. Data for this page is being provided by NDRF and other agencies
involved in rescue work.
Google Person Finder is an open source web application that provides a registry and message
board for survivors, family, and loved ones affected by a natural disaster to post and search for
information about each other's status. It was created by volunteer Google engineers in response
to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Tie up with IAF and raising companies:
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will raise 10 special companies of international
standards, said NDRF Director-General Mahboob Alam.
Once the special companies are trained, the NDRF, which is the only trained force to tackle
disasters, will carry out rescue operations across the world, he added.
“The force is taking up more community awareness programmes to improve its network,” Mr.
“The NDRF has tie-up with the Indian Air Force (IAF) for providing helicopters to rush to the
spot as early as possible during a calamity. The aim of the NDRF is to minimise human loss
during disasters. We will train the special team personnel with all techniques to handle
emergencies across the globe,” Mr. Alam said.
In addition to the existing 10 battalions, two more battalions are being trained in the country.
One company will be positioned in Hyderabad soon, and the force has requested the State
government to allot space for the new company.
ROLE OF NDRF
NDRF’s role can be divided into three parts
(a)Will impart Disaster Management training to the local police, District Authorities and
(b)Will organize community awareness and preparedness program during familiarization
& recee of vulnerable areas.
(c) Will impart training to the teachers and school children in the management of Natural
2. During Disaster-
(a) Pro-active deployment at disaster site.
(b) Provide hi-tech-specialist response during search and rescue of victims.
(c) Provide immediate relief with available men and material in the effected
3. Post Disaster-
(a) To assist states in recovery-maintenance of normalcy at the areas of
The vision of the NDMA is to build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic,
proactive, multi-disaster and technology driven strategy for Disaster Management. This has to be
achieved through a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and
efficient response at the time of disasters.
NDRF has proved its importance in achieving this vision by:
– Highly skilled rescue and relief operations.
– Regular and intensive training and re-training.
– Familiarization exercises, community awareness and capacity building within the area of
– carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.
NDRF has executed 67 disaster response operations in 13 states of the country and have saved
1,31,870 precious human lives and retrieved 202 dead bodies till now.
CAPABILITIES AND STRENGTH OF NDRF
1. Capable in CSSR(Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue) Operations.
2. Trained in MFR(Medical First Responder)
3. Trained in Flood and Mountain Rescue operations
4. Each unit has deep divers.
5. 36 dogs would be present with capability of search and rescue operation.
6. Presence of specialized manpower viz. 36 Engineers, 19 Doctors, 36 Nurses, 18
Technician, 18 Electricians etc. make it a highly specialized professional force.
7. Authorization and presence of highly specialized equipments.
8. High mobility.
Over the years NDRF has proved its efficacy with its commendable performance during various
disasters including the drowning cases, building collapses, landslides, devastating
floods and Cyclones. NDRF has saved more than 135,000 human lives and retrieved over 275
dead bodies of disaster victims in more than 70 response operations in the country.
Some of the major operations of NDRF are listed below:
1. 2007 - GUJRAT FLOODS:
Rescued 290 people and distributed 3750 packets of food.
2. 2009 - CYCLONE AILA WEST BENGAL
Rescued 2,000 people; distribution of medicine to 30,000 victims & food packets to
16,000 homeless victims.
3. 2010 - CHLORINE LEAKAGE AT SHIWADI, MUMBAI
Neutralized 835 cylinders at Mumbai Port Trust.
4. 2010 - RADIATION EMERGENCY AT MAYAPURI SCRAP MARKET, NEW
NDRF’s operation was to search the scrap market for radioactive source.
A 46 member team of NDRF was deployed from 27/03/2011 to 07/04/2011. Team
managed to extricate 07 bodies from the rubble more than two weeks after the disaster
struck the area. The team recovered & handed over cash worth fifty million yen to the
authorities apart from the valuables.
6. 2012 - TRAIN ACCIDENT MALIGAON, GUWAHATI
Two teams of NDRF were deployed to assist in the rescue operation. Both teams rescued
and evacuated 40 persons from the damaged and de-railed train coaches.
7. 2012 - BOAT CAPSIED, DHUBRI ASSAM
A team of about 100 NDRF rescuers and deep divers responded to an incident in which a
fiery had capsized in River Brahmaputra. 19 bodies were recovered and handed over to
the aggrieved families.
8. 2012 - SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION ISAPUR, DELHI
A person went missing in pond at Isapur, Nazafgarh. The local body requested to send a
rescue team for rescue operation. On reaching the incident site, NDRF team carried out
search and rescue operation and recovered dead body.
9. 2011 - FIRE INCIDENT IN AMRI HOSPITAL, KOLKATA
In December 2011, a fire incident occurred in AMRI hospital in Kolkata. NDRF got call
from state authorities regarding assistance in locating any possible radiation threat from
the sensitive radiology department of hospital as well as the medical equipments during
fire. After the through radiation detection for around one hour team declared hospital free
from any hazardous radiation.
10. 2013 – NORTH INDIA FLASH FLOODS, KEDARNATH
5700 dead, 33,000 rescued and 9 NDRF officials lost their lives during the rescue
11. 2014 – MALIN LANDSLIDE, PUNE
151 dead, 100 missing and 22 people rescued.
12. 2014 – JAMMU KASHMIR FLOODS
277 deaths and 200,000 rescued.
In order to expedite relief operations in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, the NDRF
team has introduced advanced medical services. It used Terrain vehicle to negotiate
certain areas where conventional vehicles are not able to go, example 2.5 feet of water,
a gradient of 20-30 feet to carry out the rescue operation.
LOOPHOLES IN WORKING OF NDRF:
India as a country is susceptible to various natural and man-made disasters. In addition, irregular
and illegal mining and unauthorized construction continues to destroy the natural defenses
against flooding, landslides or even earthquakes, greatly escalating the problems.
While it is not possible to eliminate the disasters completely, its impact can be greatly reduced
by proper preparedness and due care.
Natural calamities and disasters have time and again exposed the weak state of disaster
preparedness and rescue and relief infrastructure. It has also highlighted the weaknesses of the
NDMA and NDRF in responding to natural disaster and handling devastations.
In 2013, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) released a performance report on India’s
disaster preparedness. It found critical gaps in the preparedness level for various disasters. It
found NDMA to be ineffective in most of the core areas since it neither had information and
control over the progress of the work at the state level nor could it successfully implement
various projects. The report stated that the National Executive Committee had not met after May
2008; the National Plan for Disaster Management has not yet been formulated and there were
delays and mismanagement in respect of State Disaster Response Fund.
NDRF was set under NDMA Act which itself had certain shortcomings which contributed to its
poor implementation record.
Experts have pointed out loopholes in the Act, which might make it less effective. They include
(a) Lack of clear guidelines on who shall be entitled to relief and compensation under the Act;
(b)Lack of clarity on who shall be monitoring the performance of the various agencies set up
under the Act;
(c)Lack of clarity about coordination between the different agencies;
(d) No guideline on how to differentiate between a disaster and a disaster of severe magnitude;
(e) No provision for declaring a disaster prone zone or classifying disasters in various categories.
In Uttarakhand tragedy, food packets dropped by helicopters were swept away in the river. Many
copters returned with the food packets, having found no safe place to drop them.
While there has been exemplary efforts and act of bravery on the part of NDRF personnel that
deserves to be applauded, the incident has exposed significant loopholes at the leadership,
infrastructure, planning, and therefore, responsiveness levels.
Significant positions in the NDMA are still lying vacant, which impede its proper functioning. It
is essential that the structure of the NDMA and NDRF be revamped. Instead of political
appointments, experts from military and the other relevant fields should be appointed. Their
expertise will prove highly beneficial in both mitigation and in the face of a crisis.
None of the mitigation and vulnerability mapping projects of NDMA has been completed.
Further NDMA has neither disbursed many of the funds that were at its disposal, nor has it
started the systematic assessment of major national projects, which will help in the development
of structural requirements for disaster reduction.
Despite having massive investment, there has been no great increase in infrastructure of Satellite
based communication network, Digital Surveillance of flood prone areas. This has greatly
hampered the ability to respond to disasters.
In addition, the NDRF does not have sufficient trained personnel. The standard operating
procedures for their deployment has also not been fixed. Only few states have raised State
disaster response forces. There have also been major delays and mismanagement of the funds for
the State disaster response fund. Large amount were left unspent by the respective states.
Moreover the very basic emergency services like fire brigades are not properly equipped or
The level of preparedness for disaster management at the centre and the states is very uneven.
According to a report by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, even after six years of
the enactment of the Disaster Management Act, many states have not yet established the state-
level authorities. The report concludes that the present capability of civil administration for
combating disasters remains inadequate and they rely on the armed forces for major emergency
Response to a specific disaster is the best test of the level of disaster preparedness. However, the
response to the Kashmir floods has exposed the lack of preparedness of administrative
machinery. While natural disasters may be unpredictable, India cannot afford to wait for the
next disaster to strike before getting its act together.
Future for NDRF:
NDRF will raise two more battalions to strengthen its cadre in view of enormity of the task. Two
more battalions will be raised from SSB soon in addition to existing 10 battalions raised from
CRPF, CISF and other armed forces. The Central government has accepted the proposal for
recruitment of engineers, doctors, paramedic’s staff on contract basis for 3 to 5 years to
overcome shortage of manpower in the force. Earlier, they were recruited only at the time of
disaster for a shorter period of time which attracted fewer people to join them. To motivate
personnel, the central government has also decided to provide "NDRF response medal" to
personnel who completes three year in the dedicated disaster management force.
Rajnath Singh,Home minister promised to provide "all possible assistance" to the NDRF and
lauded its work in saving lives across India."NDRF personnel have done commendable jobs in
different disasters by rescuing people in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya," he said.
celebrated its raising day on Jan 19th."The government is keen to provide all possible assistance
to the force including (increasing) its strength," he said.Singh also presented police medals to
NDRF personnel. A souvenir and a postal cover on the 10th raising day were released on the
NDRF concept is one of its kind in world. Most of countries are responding through fire fighters.
No country is having dedicated disaster response force. In coming days NDRF will be the best in
NDRF, in a short span of eight years, has acquired a niche for itself as a professional Force. It
played a vital role in responding to various disasters, be they natural or man-made. It is also the
single largest stand-alone disaster response force in the world. NDRF is a cadre of specialist,
trained, disciplined and dedicated personnel who can render relief and response services in best
of the manner in worst of the situations.
At present NDRF response time is 20 minute which is of international level. NDRF is a cadre of
specialist, trained, disciplined and dedicated personnel who can render relief and response
services in best of the manner in worst of the situations. Also NDRF should acquire new
capabilities and regularly update its training & equipment.
Disaster Response Management is a multiagency function coordinated at a nodal point for
effective delivery of relief to the victim of disaster. There is a need for a high degree of
cooperation and coordination between the various agencies. It is essential that all the agencies
are involved in disaster planning and preparation. The development projects should also be
sensitive towards disaster management.
We as a nation are grossly under-prepared to tackle most natural disasters as was very clearly
witnessed in Kashmir. Many hundreds of lives were lost, and thousands of livelihoods were
destroyed. It is essential that we learn from the lapses that this tragedy has exposed.
“Preparedness is the only way we can combat a disaster.”