The concept of Civil Defence owes its origin to erstwhile ARP Organisation raised and operated during World War II (1939-45) to safeguard the life and property of the civilian population and also to maintain the continuity of productive and economic activity of the nation during war time crisis. The ARP Organisation worked commendably during World War II. After the end of the war in 1945, the Organisation was winded up.
The Civil Defence concept once again got a proper thrust immediately after Sino-Indian conflict during October, 1962. The post of DGCD was created and first DGCD was appointed on 14th November, 1962.
Civil Defence aims at saving life, minimising damage to the property and maintaining continuity of industrial production in the event of an hostile attack.
The Civil Defence Policy of the Government of India till the declaration of emergency in 1962, was confined to making the States and Union Territories conscious of the need of civil protection measures and to ask them to keep ready civil protection plans for major cities and towns under the then Emergency Relief Organisation (ERO) scheme. Chinese aggression in 1962 and Indo-Pak conflict in 1965 led to a considerable re-thinking about the policy and scope of Civil Defence. As a result, the Civil Defence Policy as it exists today, was evolved and Civil Defence legislation was enacted in the Parliament in 1968. The country was subjected to further hostile attacks from Pakistan in December, 1971 when the Civil Defence Organisation acquitted itself commendably.
Due to technological advancement in last few decades the invironment of the globe has undergone a significant change. The climate change is resulting into many natural disasters with increasing frequency and the changed socio-economic and political scenario has resulted into new emerging challenges to internal security threats. To meet the challenges of the day, the Civil Defence Act was suitably amended by the Civil Defence (Amendment) Act, 2009 by Notification No.3 of 2010, to include the disaster management as an additional role for the Civil Defence Corps, while retaining its primary role.
Home Guards is a voluntary force, first raised in India in December, 1946, to assist the police in controlling civil disturbance and communal riots. Subsequently, the concept of the voluntary citizens force was adopted by several States. In the wake of Chinese aggression in 1962, the Centre advised the State and Union Territories to merge their existing voluntary organisation into one uniform voluntary force known as Home Guards. The role of Home Guards is to serve as an auxiliary to the police in maintenance of internal security, help the community in any kind of emergency such as an air-raid, fire, cyclone, earthquake, epidemic etc., help in maintenance of essential services, promote communal harmony and assist the administration in protecting weaker sections, participate in socio-economic and welfare activities and perform Civil Defence duties. Home Guards are of two types - rural and urban. In border States, Border Wing Home Guards Bns. have also been raised, which serve as an auxiliary to the Border Security Force.
Eighteen Border Wing Home Guards (BWHG) Battalions have been raised in the border States to serve as an auxiliary to Border Security Force for preventing infiltration on the international border/coastal areas, guarding of VA/VPs and lines of communication in vulnerable areas at the time of external aggression.
Fire prevention and fire fighting services are organised by the States/UTs. Ministry of Home Affairs renders technical advice to States/UTs and Central Ministries on Fire Protection, Fire Prevention and Fire Legislation.
For up-gradation of Fire Service in the States, MHA arranges soft GIC loans through the Ministry of Finance, (Insurance Division) for the purchase of capital fire fighting equipment and also for construction of buildings. From 1980-81 till to-date, a total sum of Rs. 405 crores GIC loans had been arranged by the Ministry for development of State Fire Services. Tenth Finance Commission had also allocated Rs. 80 crores as grant-in-aid for modernisation of Fire Services in the States during plan period 1995-2000. The 11th Finance Commission had also allocated Rs. 201 crores for the proper development of Fire Services in States, specially in all Districts HQ towns and also for towns having population of 50,000 and above, during the plan period 2000-2005.
Training of junior level fire professionals are conducted by the States/UTs in State Fire Training Schools. At the moment 14 such State Fire Training Schools are operating in various States/UTs. Training of officers of Fire Services is conducted in the National Fire Service College which was established in Nagpur as a subordinate training establishment of the Ministry, way back in 1956. Since inception in 1956, the college has so far trained total 17,000 fire officers including 71 foreign trainees from 12 countries.
Standing Fire Advisory Council (SFAC) constituted by the Ministry is the apex body of Fire & Safety experts comprised of Heads of Fire Services of all States & UTs. SFAC advises Govt. of India on various aspects on fire and safety. Recently, Ministry compiled all recommendations of SFAC (up-dated upto latest 38th meeting) and The Compendium of Recommendations of SFAC has been printed and circulated it to all concerned.