In wake of Kerala Floods, should the Indian government accept the financial aid of 700 crores extended by the UAE? HW News Brings you reactions from across political lines.
The devastating Kerala Floods left a trail of destruction in the southern state that led to economic loss scaling up to Rupees 20,000 crores approximately, according to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The state had asked for the immediate assistance of Rupees 2000 crore. However, so far, the centre has only allotted not more than 800 crores to the state. Various states and even international organizations have come forward to lend a helping hand to Kerala that is recovering as the flood-waters recede.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) responding to the crisis in the state, extended the help of Rupees 700 crores. However, the Central government has declined to accept help from the foreign country citing “existing policy”. Union minister KJ Alphons has said that the money provided so far by the Centre (Rs 600 crores) is just preliminary aid and more financial assistance will be given in the coming days after taking stock of the situation in Kerala.
Deep gratitude to @HHShkMohd His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his concern, generosity and large heart. People of Kerala will not forget this kind gesture shown in our time of need.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 18, 2018
However, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Kerala unit chief of Communist Party of India (Marxist), has accused the NDA government of being vengeful. “The government’s decision to refuse UAE’s aid offer is wrong. The refusal to accept aid is an act of vengeance,” Balakrishnan said. The state leaders have also demanded that if the Centre does not want the state to accept the Rs 700 crores offered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), then it must compensate for the decision.
Considering the destruction and economic loss of massive scale, rebuilding the state of Kerala will take massive efforts and funds. So, should the Indian government accept the financial aide of 700 crores extended by the UAE? HW News Brings you reactions from across political lines:
Sanju Verma, BJP Spokesperson:
“A policy with respect to not accepting Foreign Aid has been in place since 2004 when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. Now there has been a clarification from the Manmohan Singh dispensation that we did not take aid for relief or rehabilitation work but we did take some aid for road construction. So there is some confusion on that front, but one thing which I am very sure of is there is a tradition that has been in existence since last fourteen years about not taking voluntary foreign aid from foreign countries. Can this government supersede that rule and go ahead and take aid from the United Arab Emirates, I think let the government decide what it needs to do because this comes under the executive and legislature part of the government and nobody has any business to tell the government what it needs to do. Is 700 crores really something that will make a huge impact? Because Kerala has said that we need more than 20000 crores given the extensive damage that has happened to the roads, railways, highways have been washed up, So the 700 crores are not going to make a huge impact. I do agree that every penny counts but having said that has the Narendra Modi government done enough or not?”
“Initially, the Kerala government asked for 1000 crores, how much has been released till now? I am not talking about the infrastructure that has been damaged or even the repair work, because money for that will be sanctioned later. Just for rescue and rehabilitation on a priority basis, 920 crores out of the 1000 crores demanded by the state has already been approved and sanctioned by the Modi government. The Modi government has been very responsive, the Indian Armed Forces, NDRF, Indian Navy everybody has been fighting on a war-footing to ensure that Kerala comes back to normalcy. So I would like to say that isn’t the Congress agenda a hypocrisy because when there were floods in Uttarakhand, the state government had asked for 14,000 crores and the government only sanctioned 5000 crores. Out of which only 245 crores were released.”
“All states have helped Kerala in their own capacities. Even small states like Nagaland has given 1 crores, bigger states like Maharashtra and UP have given around 20- 25 crores each, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh have been pitching 10-15 crores each. When there had been flooding in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Assam etc nobody from Congress asked for foreign aid, why is that the Kerala floods are being treated differently?”
Sheshadri Chari, BJP NEC Member, External Affairs Expert:
“Accepting foreign aid to meet the demands during natural calamity is not a new thing. Earlier also the foreign governments have done this but these foreign governments are expected to approach the central government and provide assistance through the central government. The UAE and other governments which are especially targetting reaching aid to Kerala have a background. So, it does augur well the state government to pressurize the central government to accept UAE’s offer. It would have been proper for the UAE or any other foreign governments to approach the Central govt., offer the aid directly to the central govt financial pool. ”
PK Bijju, Loksabha MP, CPIM:
“The state of Kerala has witnessed the massive flood. It has affected the fourteen districts in the state. the most affected is the Alappuzha district, Ernakulam, Wayanad, Thrissur. Totally, more than 50,000 crores rupees needed to rebuild Kerala. Now, 14 Lakh people are in relief camps. Almost all the houses have been completely or partially affected during this flood and landslides. Across the globe, people are ready to help Kerala, even in our country, the states have already given financial assistance to Kerala. The people of India have seen how the situation worsen in Kerala due to the flood. The government has already given the 600 crores rupees for rebuilding work in Kerala but it is insufficient. So the Kerala CM already requested the entire country and across the globe to rebuild Kerala otherwise it is difficult for the state to alone complete this task. Some countries, some states, even the UN is ready to assist Kerala. So we request the Central government to lease the amount as early as possible and accept the resource from different countries across the globe including the UAE.”
Ganesh Jagtap, Former Bureaucrat:
“In last 20 years, there has been a turn-around as far as cross-national aids are concerned from India’s perspective. So we have been aiding certain underdeveloped countries and African countries as well as some South-Asian countries. Wherever there has been a problem, India has been providing a helping hand. So as to position itself as a strong and robust economy of the region ready to help. Simultaneously, there is a psyche when a government is offered the aid, to not accept it so as to send a message to the world that we are self-sufficient.”
PT Thomas, Kerala Congress MLA:
“Since 2004 the government of India has refused to take any funds from foreign countries for any natural calamity, the then UPA government had declared that India is self-sufficient and can retain its financial stand without any foreign aid help for any natural calamity that might take place in India, However the government of India agrees to take any amount as loan but not as foreign aid, so the decision totally lies with the central government itself now whether to take this as aid or a loan.”