Contribution of CSR in Strengthening Disaster Management as a Social Responsibility

Contribution of CSR in Strengthening Disaster Management as a Social Responsibility

Before beginning with the role of CSR in disaster management, it’s important to know about Disasters, Indian Scenario and Disaster management for the purpose of disaster risk reduction.

Hazard can be defined as any event that can possibly cause harm or pose threat to the environment, humans, socio-economic infrastructure. Hazard is any danger that can result into harmful consequences.

Disaster is any sudden occurrence that results into unfortunate repercussions like loss of life, damage to property etc. Disasters can be classified into many categories but broadly they are of two types; Natural Disasters and Man Induced Disasters.

Disaster Management

A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

Disaster management means a continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster. It involves: –

  • Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity
  • Capacity-building
  • Preparedness to deal with any disaster
  • Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster
  • Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster
  • Evacuation, rescue and relief
  • Rehabilitation and reconstruction

Disaster Management Cycle

1.Preparedness: – all the Activities prior to a disaster.

Examples: Preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems.

2.Response: – Activities during a disaster.

Examples: public warning systems; emergency operations; search and rescue.

3.Recovery: – Activities following a disaster.

Example: Temporary housing; claims processing and grants; long-term medical care and counseling.

4.Mitigation: – Activities that reduce the effects of disasters.

Example: Building codes and zoning; vulnerability analysis; public education.

Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • This Act provides for the effective management of disaster and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It provides institutional mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of the disaster management. The Act also ensures measures by the various wings of the Government for prevention and mitigation of disasters and prompt response to any disaster situation.
  • The Act provides for setting up of a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) under the Chairmanship of the Chief Ministers, District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) under the Chairmanship of Collectors/District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners.
  • Under its supervision, the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for capacity building and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for response purpose have been set up.
  • The Act further contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as creation of funds for response, National Disaster Mitigation Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels for the purpose of disaster management. The Act also provides specific roles to local bodies in disaster management.
  • Further the enactment of 73rd and 74th Amendments to the constitution and emergence of local self- government, both rural and urban, as important tiers of governance, the role of local authorities becomes very important. The DM Act, 2005 also envisages specific roles to be played by the local bodies in disaster management.


Indian Scenario

India has been prone to disasters due to its geophysical, climatic and socio-economic conditions. The country is highly vulnerable to recurring geophysical and hydro-meteorological hazards. Disaster Vulnerability is due to various reasons including adverse geo-climatic conditions, topographic features, degradation of environment, population explosion, industrialization, defective development practices, urbanization etc.

Disasters leave behind a trail of heavy loss of lives , property and livelihoods. Many parts of the country often find that the disaster losses are higher than the gains from development. Disasters causes the social and economic losses that affect every segment of national life including the industrial and corporate sector.

India had REACTIVE approach towards disasters that caused precious resources being spent on relief, rehabilitation efforts. Presently the focus has shifted to PROACTIVE approach including pre-disaster aspects such as disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness since it is felt that appropriate mitigation measures can substantially, if not wholly, reduce the heavy toll casualties and damages, also lessen the losses of developmental, industrial and infrastructural gains and the hard-earned socio-economic infrastructure.

“….. [Business has] responsibility to itself, to its customers, workers, shareholders and the community…. every enterprise, no matter how large or small, must, if it is to enjoy confidence and respect seek actively to discharge its responsibilities in all directions…. and not to one or two groups, such as shareholders and workers, at the expense of community and consumer.

— Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri

Prime Minister of India in 1965

Corporate Sector Participation

  • For long, the corporate sector had been viewed as a different sector but society. In last few decades, there has been remarkable change in the perception and the presence of corporate sector is intimately connected with the safety and well being of the society. Now the corporate sector and society are being seen as interdependent for reciprocal existence and prosperity.
  • Today, the corporate sector has become an Inseparable part of our socio-economic and national life and a vibrant industry is not only better placed to make itself sustainable but can also act as a composite foil to the governmental efforts at holistic disaster management.
  • Recognizing the importance of integrating the corporate sector and their nodal organizations in disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness agenda, the National Disaster Management Framework drawn up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India envisages “involvement of corporate sector in awareness generation and disaster preparedness and mitigation planning” through sensitization, training and co-opting of the corporate sector and their nodal bodies in planning process and response mechanisms.
  • Similarly, the Government of India- UNDP Disaster Risk Management Program also entails promotion of partnerships with the private sector in awareness generation and sensitization leading to development of disaster risk management plans.

Corporate Social Responsibility in Disaster Management

  • The crucial role the corporate sector can play in mainstreaming disaster management into not only its own functioning but also in other sectors and among the community is now being appreciated and duly recognized as an inalienable part of corporate social responsibility.
  • The corporate sector possesses huge resources – human, material, technical and financial – and has significant presence in every region in the country.
  • The accountability of the corporate sector in terms of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has also increased as the value and reputation of a company is being increasingly adjudged by its social behavior and by its contribution to the economic well-being and development of the communities in which it operates.
  • CSR is actually a strategy of business that works. By integrating CSR into its business strategy as a main theme, the corporates not only make a significant contribution to a better society but are also recognized for doing so. This has obvious benefits for the company.
  • As part of their corporate social responsibility, the companies are encouraged to conduct business responsibly by contributing to the economic health and development of communities in which they operate; manage risk more efficiently and minimize the negative impact of its activities on the environment and its resources; social and environmental impacts of business activities.
  • It can play a leading role in supporting and building the knowledge, capacity and skills of the community in comprehensive risk-based disaster management activities ranging from prevention, mitigation and preparedness to response and recovery.
  • It can offer human and financial resources and can also be a precious source of technical know-how, as for example in the case of identification and research on technological solutions to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.


On the whole, corporate sector has the potential for strengthening and promoting its own safety and protection against natural hazards as well as in assisting the community at large in reducing its vulnerability to disasters.

Through CSR initiatives till date, it is clear that India has a long-standing tradition of corporate philanthropy, by explaining the CSR tradition in the country and different examples in which it has been applied. The Companies Act 2013 describes the areas in which CSR projects are developed, however the guidelines do not mention directly the need for investing in Disaster Risk Reduction. Companies should comprehend that by investing in DRR as a strategic CSR activity they will preserve livelihoods from disasters and at the same time they will ensure their business viability.

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