Third Late General Bipin Rawat Memorial Lecture “Changing Face of Disaster: Playing the Risk Game’ by Team STRIVE


Lucknow based Think Tank STRIVE (Society for Transformative Research, Integration and Veteran Empowerment) organized 3rd Late General Bipin Rawat Memorial Lecture at SURYA auditorium in Lucknow Cantonment. It is a yearly event organized in the memory of the first CDS of India Late General Bipin Rawat, PVSMUYSMAVSMYSMSMVSM, who died in a tragic air accident in Dec 2022. For its third edition,   Lt Gen Yogendra Dimri, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retired), Vice Chairman Uttar Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority was the main speaker and Lt Gen NS Raja Subramani, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, the General Officer Commanding in Chief of Central Command was the Chief Guest.  Other important guests for the event included, Chief of Staff of the Central Command, Lt Gen Mukesh Chadha, SM, VSM, Lt Gen Kavita Sahai, SM, VSM, Commandant AMC Centre and College, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Lt Gen AK Mishra and many other serving and veterans of Armed Forces. In addition, several dignitaries from the civil stream also attended the lecture. Important among them were Dr Satish Kumar, Commandant UP SDRF, Sri Ram Kewal, ACEO UP SDMA, Dr Manish Ranalkar, Head IMD Lucknow and Dr Akanksha Pandey, from Rastriya Raksha University Lucknow. This year STRIVE added NCC Cadets also among the audience to generate awareness among the masses.

The theme of this year’s lecture was, “Changing Face of Disaster: Playing the Risk Game’.

The proceedings of the day started with a short film on life and times of Late Gen Bipin Rawat. It was followed by a welcome address by the Chairman, STRIVE, Maj Gen A Parmar, VSM (Retd) on arrival of the chief guest, the Army Commander and the keynote speaker, the Vice Chairman UP SDMA.  After that the Academic Head of STRIVE, Maj Gen Harsha Kakar took to stage. He gave a background of STRIVE and the scope of its work. Thereafter he introduced the subject of the Memorial lecture. One of the important aspects he underlined that the Army Forces continue to remain first responder in border areas which by a co-incidence are also quite vulnerable to disasters. Thereafter he introduced the Keynote speaker Lt Gen Yogendra Dimri, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Vice Chairman UP SDMA.

The General started his address, by explaining the difference between hazard and disaster and went on to cover evolution of disaster management organization within the country, Disaster Risk Management including main streaming of Disaster Risk Reduction as it exists currently. It was explained by the General as to how the role of first responder from Armed Forces has now shifted to NDRF, though role of armed forces in border areas continues due to their presence in those areas. He flagged the challenges on account of Climate Change, Human induced activities like population explosion, environmental degradation, and human wild conflict. He also flagged that many of the disasters cut across the national boundaries which may result into human migration both within country and across the borders of the country, which may result into security issue and as such there is a need to always remain ready to deal with such situations. Here it needs to be noted that the worst impacted sections of the society include old, infirm, women, children, and cattle. Plans should be made in advance to tackle all eventualities during the recue phase. Logistics management during rescue and relief phase are critical and need to plan by the authorities responsible for the provisioning. Finally, after worst is over security and preservation of assets damaged/ need preservation should also be investigated  and addressed for avoidance of all such infirmities in future.  There is also a need to comply with international commitments like Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations and the Paris Accord. He also outlined the steps that are being taken or being planned to be taken at national level, state level and the district level. One of the important steps in this direction he said was a need for a better coordination among the various departments as disaster management entails cross department coordination.  He made it clear that though afforestation is a step in right direction, but emphasis needs to be shifted from planting the trees to ensuring their survival. Two more challenges which he outlined entailed coverage of devastation on account of disaster and funding for infrastructure for disaster risk redetection. He informed that these are being tackled by risk coverage by insurance and by main streaming the DRR. Main streaming of the DRR calls for a inter departmental collaboration hence need for a very robust coordination mechanism. The general also informed about the concept of ‘Apda Mitra’ and ‘Apda Sakhis’ in his talk, which under the aegis of NDMA, the states are training to augment the capacity to handle disasters. It was highly reassuring to note that the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is highly prone to natural and man-made disasters is working proactively in conjunction with NDMA and other neighboring states and Nepal to get ready for the disasters, if at all and as and when they happen.  All in all, it was a very comprehensive talk on disaster management in India with specific references to Uttar Pradesh and steps that need to be taken for international collaboration.  His talk was followed by a very keen question- answer session wherein the General addressed all the queries of the audience.

The Army Commander in his closing remarks appreciated the content of the talk and complimented STRIVE for taking up such an important issue for the Memorial Lecture. He highlighted that in border and remote areas Armed forces still have a role for the disaster mitigation. He gave the example of recent Glacial Lake Outflow Flood in Sikkim where Army did a commendable rescue and relief work. He further advised STRIVE to organize many more ‘Round Table’ discussions on the subject.

The function ended with a vote of thanks to the Keynote speaker and the Army commander among others, by Team STRIVE. This onerous task was performed by the Vice Chairman of STRIVE.  Chairman STRIVE also presented a set of books to the Army Commander and the Keynote speaker to convey the gratitude of the team STRIVE to the two VIPs who had come to share their views with the audience despite having a very busy schedule.

On behalf of Team Strive, it was committed that STRIVE shall continue taking up issues related to nation building and national security for research in future too, and thereafter  upload them on her website  with a view to help researchers to access it as a reference material. It was also flagged by the Vice Chairman that the You tube channel of STRIVE, namely ‘STRIVE Defense Dialogue’ has already completed 140 episodes and has started becoming a very credible source of information on issues related to National Security. He ended with a request to the audience to subscribe to it so that Team STRIVE gets motivated to further improve its quality.


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