Drought Relief: SC to Hear Karnataka Govt’s Plea for NDRF Funds in July


The Supreme Court stated it would hear in July a plea filed by the Karnataka government, seeking a direction to the Centre to release financial assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the state for drought management.

The Central Government had informed the apex court on April 29 that approximately Rs 3,400 crore had been disbursed to the Karnataka government for drought management in the state.

The matter was mentioned before a bench of justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Karnataka government, stated that the state would submit an affidavit regarding the issue. The bench scheduled the hearing for July.

During the previous week’s hearing, Sibal informed the bench that although Rs 3,450 crore had been released, the state had requested assistance amounting to Rs 18,000 crore.

Centre’s Failure?

The petition seeks a declaration that the Centre’s failure to release financial assistance for drought management in accordance with the NDRF violates the fundamental rights of the people of Karnataka guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. It highlighted the severe drought conditions affecting the state, with 223 out of 236 taluks declared as drought-affected for the kharif 2023 season. The plea detailed crop losses and requested Rs 18,171.44 crore in assistance from the Centre under the NDRF.


The plea further criticized the Centre’s actions as arbitrary, asserting violations of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the manual for drought management updated in 2020. It pointed out delays in the Centre’s decision-making process despite the submission of reports and assessments by relevant authorities.

The plea emphasized the requirement for the Centre to make a final decision on assistance within a month of receiving the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) report, yet no action had been taken even after six months since the IMCT’s assessment of drought conditions in Karnataka.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte