ROLE OF CIVIL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS IN THE PANDEMIC
17, Apr 2020
Prelims level : Policies Mains level : GS-II Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Why in News?
- More than 50,000 Civil Defence volunteers are working at the grassroots level in various roles and capacities to assist the local administration in implementing the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
What is their Role in the Current Pandemic?
- The Civil Defence personnel are supplementing the local administration in conducting surveillance of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases. They have been working as rapid response teams.
- They have been deployed in all the States and most Union Territories, barring Ladakh, Daman & Diu, and Puducherry.
- 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.
How they can be Employed and what is the Provisions Regarding This?
- Civil Defence operates under the Civil Defence Act and associated rules and regulations. The Act was amended in 2009 and a notification was issued in 2010 to include disaster management as an additional role.
- Civil Defence is primarily organised on voluntary basis except for a small nucleus of paid staff and establishment which is augmented during emergencies.
- 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.
Eligibility for becoming a Civil Defence Volunteer:
- A person who Intends to Apply for appointment to a Civil Defence Corps must fulfil the Following Conditions;
- He/she shall be a citizen of India, or a subject of Sikkim or of Bhutan or of Nepal.
- He/she shall have completed the age of 18 years provided that this age limit may be relaxed at the discretion of the competent authority up to a maximum of 3 years for any branch or category of the Corps.
- He/she shall have passed at least the primary standard, that is to say, the fourth class, and this condition may be relaxed by the Controller at this discretion.
- Both men and women shall be Eligible for Appointment to the Corps.