Kerala Floods 2018 Row over Foreign Aid
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef 24 Aug 2018
When the whole state was inundated in water, it was people and the state government who proactively came forward to make the situation under control. The fishermen in the state went out voluntarily with their fishing boats to various affected spots to save many lives before the rescue operation teams from Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard came in the picture. It was the volunteers across the state, who looked after the homeless in all the 5000+ rescue camps across the state.
Kerala not only proved its resilience and fortitude in facing century's worst deluge with unity, but it also set out a perfect example on 'how proactive teamwork and proficient management would help in tackling any disaster'. Therefore, help came flooding from across the country as well as overseas. Irrespective of the differences, people all over the country took a step forward to help and support the state during the hour of need.
Ultimately, it was again with proper cooperation of the state government, local fishermen, rescue operation teams of various departments: armed forces, NDRF and State Police force, local volunteers and residents who risked their lives to save the state from misery.
Presently, the heavy rains, flash floods and landslides have claimed almost 357 lives while over 12.47 lakh people have been displaced to over 3,274 refugee camps across the state. Apart from that, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, specified that the state suffered a loss of 19,512 crores whereas the Centre granted ₹600 crore assistance for immediate relief.
Despite all the outcry from the opposition parties to announce this as a ‘national disaster’, Centre declared it as ‘calamity of severe nature’. Union Minister Piyush Goyal also said that the Centre has decided to exempt relief material from the basic customs duty and IGST.
Recently, UAE government offered ₹700 crores towards the Kerala flood relief fund, which is more than what the Modi-led government at the Centre released to deal with the damage in Kerala i.e. ₹600 crores. An RTI report, however, reveals that PM Modi has spent ₹4,343 crores on mere advertising and publicity of the BJP government in 4 years. This suggests how the government categorically ignored the state of Kerala and its people. To be precise, it was after a week, that the state was completely inundated in water, that the Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the state to analyze the condition while Modi conducted an aerial survey only after a week of Singh’s visit.
Perhaps, the country has seen this sort of floods or natural calamities in the past, but ironically, it has also allocated money for statues with faster great ease. In fact, the fund for constructing statues was much higher than the relief funds. Be it Shivaji’s statue or the Sardar Patel’s statue, the allocation of the funds were ₹3,600 crores ₹3,000 crores respectively.
Apart from the central government's relief fund, various state governments have offered a total of ₹207 crores whereas the finance commission has offered to give ₹160 crores for the affected. However, the state still falls short of ₹1,633 crores as of now since the Centre hasn't put out its official stand on accepting the foreign aid. Although the decision is completely upon the central government to accept the offer or not, ‘how shall this shortfall of ₹1,633 crores be managed in the coming days?’ is the big question popping up at this point in time.
क्या लोकसभा चुनाव 2019 में नेता विकास के मुद्दों की जगह आरोप-प्रत्यारोप की राजनीति कर रहे हैं ??
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