Centre Might Not Accept Rs 700 Cr from UAE for Kerala Flood Relief

While the foreign country has pledged Rs 700 crore to help Indian citizens, the central govt gives Rs 100 cr less.

Updated
India
3 min read
UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Image used for representational purpose.
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While the United Arab Emirates has pledged Rs 700 crore for relief efforts in flood-ravaged Kerala, there is no still clarity as to whether the Indian government will accept the aid, since it would amount to reversing a 15-year long convention that was first adopted in the wake of the tsunami in 2004, as per a report by Suhasini Haidar in The Hindu.

Former Indian envoy to the US Ronen Sen said that India had declined the aid offer from the US after the tsunami that hit the southern coasts in 2004.

However, against the backdrop of similar aid proposals after the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, the then MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said that India has “adequate ability” to address the situation in such cases.

Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said that not accepting foreign donation is not something set in stone, as it was a decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security at the time when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that India was capable of managing its domestic issues as well as assist other tsunami-hit countries.

A report in Business Standard also said that India will mostly likely 'politely refuse' UAE's help.

“The central government is of the stand that Kerala can take help from individuals abroad. But if any government is ready to help, we should not take it,” a senior official from the finance ministry of Kerala told the newspaper.

UAE Pledges Rs 700 Cr Assistance to Kerala

Coming as a major relief for Kerala, which is struggling to deal with the aftermath of the recent floods, the United Arab Kingdom has promised an assistance of Rs 700 crore.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the media about this in a press meet, adding that he was grateful to the UAE.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan informed this to Lulu Group Chairman MA Yusuff Ali,” the CM said.

‘Gulf is Keralites’ Second Home’

The UAE administration has communicated this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 21 August.

“For scores of Keralites, Gulf is their second home. Keralites are not mere workers there. If we take the population and houses there, a Keralite would have some kind of connection with many of the houses there. There is a Malayali touch in everything. In our current distress, the people in the Gulf are as emotional as we are. Sheik Mohammed has communicated to the Prime Minister about their decision to help.”

“They have decided to give $100 million as assistance, that would be 700 crore in Indian rupees. I would like to express my gratitude to the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on behalf of Malayalis,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The UAE Crown Prince informed about the decision to provide assistance when Yusuff Ali met the ruler to wish him on Bakrid.

“The promise of assistance is something that gives us strength, it implies that the world community is with us,” the CM added.

While the foreign country has pledged Rs 700 crore, the Centre’s assistance for the state is just Rs 600 crore. Earlier Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced Rs 100 crore as relief. The Prime Minister, during his visit to the state on August 18, declared an assistance of Rs 500 crore, while the Chief Minister’s request was for an immediate relief of Rs 2,000 crore to deal with the crisis.

A special state cabinet meeting will be held on 30 August to discuss the rehabilitation and reconstruction.

During a media briefing on 20 August, the Chief Minister said that rebuilding was going to need a lot of funds. The amount allotted for Kerala’s annual outlay in this fiscal year is Rs 37,248 crore. A primary estimation of the losses from the floods amount to Rs 20,000 crore, which will increase in the days to come.

Between August 8 to 20, 223 people have died in the floods in the state. As many as 10,28,073 people are staying in 3,274 relief camps across the state.

Last week, the UAE Prime Minister had come out in support of the state and ordered the formation of an emergency committee to provide relief.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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