The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered aid relief of Rs. 700 crore for Kerala floods but the Centre refused this help citing their existing policy which expects the government to meet the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts. However, the government is forgetting its own 2015 policy which allows such aid to be accepted “as a goodwill gesture.”
“The Government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods in Kerala. In line with the existing policy, the Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts,” An official statement from the Ministry Of External Affairs said.
However, this is contrary to the government’s official policy cleared in 2015.
According to the chapter 9 of The National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2015, “If the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the Central Government may accept the offer.”
The NDMP also states that if India is to accept foreign aid, the Home Ministry should coordinate with the External Affairs Ministry and the concerned state government.
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Kerala Finance Minister, in a tweet, also quoted the NDMP and said that if the Union Government still chooses to reject the UAE’s offer then they should compensate Kerala.
“National Disaster Management Plan Chapter 9 on international cooperation accepts that in time severe calamity voluntary aid given by a foreign government can be accepted. Still if Union Gov chooses to adopt a negative stance towards offer made by the UAE government they should compensate Kerala,” Isaac tweeted.
“Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years. 80 dams opened, 324 lives lost and 223139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps. Your help can rebuild the lives of the affected,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a tweet.
Nearly two lakh people have been living in relief camps in Kerala and 43 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) consisting of nearly 2,000 rescuers and 163 boats have been deployed in the state.
Centre should take into consideration its NDMP policy so that Kerala, which is reeling under century’s worst floods, gets help in its recovery.