The Disaster Management Act has 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 8 Battalions. In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF were deployed for routine law and order duties also. In a meeting of the NDMA with the Prime Minister on October 25, 2007, the need of NDRF being made a dedicated force was highlighted and accepted. This led to the notification of NDRF Rules on February 14th, 2008, making NDRF a dedicated force for disaster response related duties, under the unified command of Director General, NDRF.
At present, National Disaster Response Force consists of 12 battalions, three each from the BSF and CRPF and two each from CISF, ITBP and SSB. Each battalion have 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 1,149. All the 12 battalions have been equipped and trained to respond natural as well as man-made disasters. Battalions are also trained and equipped for response during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
The first major test of disaster for NDRF was Kosi Floods in 2008. NDRF resources were moved to Bihar immediately after the breach in Kosi barrage on 19th August 2008. The situation was handled by the NDRF on a war footing, by airlifting 153 high speed motorized boats with 780 flood rescue trained personnel drawn from three different Battalions and sent to the five flood affected districts with utmost promptitude. When on 25 April 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of 15 km struck Nepal , India ’s National Disaster Response Force made the headlines by capitalizing the golden hours’ rule of disaster management by being the first on the ground.