Kerala Floods: No, says Union govt , it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid

While declining to accept foreign government assistance, India is conveying its sincere appreciation for the offers, a foreign ministry statement said.

India, will not accept financial assistance from nations for flood wrecked Kerala the government clarified on Tuesday in a stance that could escalate a row with the state over help from abroad.

“In line with existing policy, the government of India is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement last night on the Kerala flood.

Hours later came a sharp response from Kerala’s Left government. “This is a dog in the manger policy,” tweeted Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.

The dispute between Kerala and the central government over whether to accept foreign aid intensified after a reported offer of Rs. 700 crore from the United Arab Emirates. Reports say Qatar and Maldives have also offered to help Kerala recover from the devastating floods.

While declining aid for Kerala flood, the government expressed “sincere appreciation” to nations and said: “Contributions to PM relief fund and CM relief fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome.”

Kerala minister Thomas Isaac’s tweet last night made his dismay clear.

The minister says the National Disaster Management Plan allows the centre to accept assistance offered by a foreign government.

“As a matter of policy, the Government of India does not issue any appeal for foreign assistance in the wake of a disaster. However, 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… In consultation with the concerned State Government, the MHA (Home Ministry) will assess the response requirements that the foreign teams can provide,” says a section on “International Cooperation” in the National Disaster Management Plan published in 2016.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clear the hurdles in receiving the aid being offered by the UAE, which has three million Indians, mostly from Kerala.

“Informally informed with regret that GOI is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief. Our hearts are with you the people of Bharat,” tweeted Thailand’s ambassador to India, Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi.

New Delhi has told nations that it is carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by the Kerala flood and is capable of meeting the requirements of the southern state on its own.

The floods in Kerala, the worst in a century, have killed over 237 since August 8.

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