Relief cannot always replace loss or damage. Specially, livelihood losses in case of marginalized people. If money transaction is not done in a disaster time, its money value is not lost; but manpower is not invested at the disaster time, its money value is lost and can never be recovered. The loss of daily wages is irreversible loss for a marginalized people. Through relief, we try to replace the direct losses and by this try back to the normalcy. Currently we are trying to ‘build back better’ by not ‘rebuilding the risk’. At least, there are some people of positive mind who try to motivate community to move for a change.
Cash transfer is not easy. It is one of the best measures of relief for distressed people, but the selection process is not always transparent. So, the transfer unnecessarily delays. The NGOs can do it smoothly, but their capacity is limited. The governments have the capacity to cover huge number of people, but bureaucratic system and political interventions hampers the process.
Response fund is used for H.B. Grant. It is not always sufficient and the delivery process is very cumbersome. But there is no other simpler way for a government machinery to make it easier considering the transparency issues. There are very experienced insurance companies which deal with disaster insurances. Instead of funding H.B. Grant, government can evolve a mechanism by funding the premium, and the insurance companies will take up the matter of rebuilding the damaged houses. But there are some critical problems in this process that must be sorted out. The problems are like who comes under the policy framework, who will monitor this, etc.
A nationwide HRVA can give us level of risk and vulnerability of people and areas. The premium will be determined on the basis of that level. The mechanism may be difficult, but I believe in the strength of knowledge of Indian economic and financial experts who can manage this.
The next question is how we develop better through relief. When we integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development process how shall we compromise with livelihood? In some cases, livelihood process will confront directly with DRR and CCA. So, we have to think of alternative livelihood process. Enhancement of ‘coping capacity’ of a community means ‘adaptation’ in the long run for an integral community. If we motivate us for a change, disaster will become an opportunity.