The National Dalit Watch (NDW), an initiative spearheaded by NCDHR to respond in an organized and systematic manner to the scenario of exclusion of Dalit communities during disasters. NCDHR learned of rampant caste discrimination during the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Tamil Nadu (2004).

At the initial stage NCDHR has done field visits, comprehensive studies and public Hearings in collaboration with International Dalit Solidarity Network, Netherland; Human Right Forum for Dalit Libration (HRFDL); Dalit mannurimai Kootamaippu to ensure justice to Tsunami hit Dalit survival.

Eventually, NCDHR took up many advocacy interventions together with HRFDL to ensure inclusion of Dalit, minority communities and women in rescue, relief and rehabilitation during disaster situation laid the foundation of NDW.

The inspiration and motivation to initiate the NDW has emerged from the learning and achievements of Dalit Watch – Bihar (DW-B). DW-B monitored the status of inclusion of Dalit communities in relief and rehabilitation, and came out with a report which described the serious situation of the Dalits in all the flood affected districts, and exposed exclusion and discrimination all along in 2007. This report perhaps the first of their kind and served as tool of advocacy.

In Indiaa series of disasters, have highlighted the inherent socio-economic vulnerabilities in which Dalits have been systematically excluded from relief and rehabilitation efforts. In a caste-ridden society and polity as in India, discrimination in disaster response is highly predictable; discrimination happens by default. NDW strives to identify, expose and eliminate such form of discrimination. NDW monitors such “unintended” exclusion from a perspective of Dalit Human Rights, with a clear cut agenda of treated such exclusion as serious human rights violation as any other form of violation; and demanding state’s accountability in ensuring protection of Dalit Rights in this sphere too.

National Dalit Watch- NCDHR in years has engraved the road towards Dalits Inclusion in DRR. The journey has been significant in terms of promotion of leaders and CBOs from Marginalized communities, ensuring pre and post disaster entitlements for the communities from marginalized sections. Building the premise of the phenomenon of caste discrimination based on the ground findings, and it rigorous advocacy undertaken by NDW with the major humanitarian stakeholders, including Sphere agencies and the National Disaster Management Authority, and state level administration, led to recognition of the issue and entitlements of the survivors of the aforementioned calamities and has developed a road map for coming years.

NDW over the past two years has instituted tools and methods to identify expose and document caste based discrimination. The tools enabled many Dalit rights organisations and grassroot activist to monitor exclusion during disaster. NDW has done several studies of disaster management and brought out the stories of exclusion. NDW has initiated the process of advocacy for inclusive DRR management act, Policies and on ground practices.

Areas Of Work

  • Inclusive Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation for Dalits and Marginalized communities
  • Inclusive DRR policy, law and guidelines that recognize caste discrimination and exclusion
  • Create a constituency of Human rights defenders to protect the rights and entitlements of Disaster Affected communities from marginalized sections
  • To develop tools, methods and Inclusive DRR actions towards addressing the issues of Dalits and Marginalized communities

Key Strategies

  • Submission of People Centric SDRF/NDRF norms of Compensation to 14thFinance Commission
  • Dalit survivors being compensated and rehabilitated;
  • Inclusion of Dalits as vulnerable groups in NDMA Guidelines
  • Recognition of CBD in disasters by humanitarian players like UNDP and ECHO
  • Initiation of Model Block Disaster Management plan
  • Engagement in developing people Centric Disaster Management Plan


  • Recognition and official registration of the issue created at the national and global negotiations, in connection to CBD/Discrimination based on Work & Descent in Post 2015 DRR Framework, also called the Hyogo Framework for Action 2;
  • Equality in Aid- Addressing Caste Based Discrimination in Humanitarian Response, ( Inclusion Framework ) jointly prepared by NCDHR, International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)
  • Submission of representations on demanding Inclusion of Dalits in the process of Universal Periodic Review 1 and Universal Periodic Review 2.
  • Interventions in 6thAMCDRR 2014 , WCDRR Meetings in Washington DC and Sendai Japan through submission of Demands for Inclusion of Dalits in International DRR framework
  • Raising concerns of Dalits and Marginalized Communities during SAARC 2014 in Nepal through PSAARC .
  • Raising demands of addressing caste based discrimination in DRR during UNSDGs summit 2015 September
  • Engagement during COP11 2012 Hyderabad and Submission of Demands for Equality in Climate Changeactions
  • Formation of Community level task force for Inclusion Monitoring on DRR
  • Due to continuous vigilance and monitoring of relief and rehabilitation communities have received compensation and rehabilitation (Karnataka&AP 2009 floods , Odisha Floods 2011, J & K Floods 2014 , Assam Floods 2012 , Hudhud Cyclone AP 2014 and Phailin 2013 ) ), Uttrakhand Floods 2013 , J & K Floods 2013, Hudhud Cyclone 2014 , Odisha Floods 2014 , Gujarat and Tamil Nadu Floods 2015  Bihar flood 2015 , Bundelkhand Drought since ages and Vardah Cyclone 2016.
  • Mass Awareness on Disaster Management structures and mechanisms

Apart from conducting inclusion monitoring actions NDW along with Asia Dalit Rights forum have done Immediate Needs Assessment and monitoring of Disaster Response in 40 villages of 10 Districts in Nepal Earthquake 2015. Consistent follow up on the demands at national and international level has been done and an effort has been made for the inclusion of Dalit issues in DRR framework.

Where We Work

  • Flood & Cyclone : Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  • Drought :Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka


Prasad Chacko: National Consultant and Senior Advisor

Lee Macqueen: Sr. Programme Manager, Inclusive & Equitable Humanitarian Response and DRR