New Delhi, Aug 23: India may not have accepted the UAE government’s offer of Rs 700 crore financial aid to flood-devastated Kerala but according to the National Disaster Management Plan of 2016 if the national government of another country offers assistance as a goodwill gesture to disaster victims, the central government may accept it.
“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,” says the Plan drafted by the National Disaster Management Authority.
According to the 2016 Plan, the Home Ministry is required to coordinate with the External Affairs Ministry, which is primarily responsible for reviewing offers of assistance and channelising the same. It said that in consultation with the state government concerned, the Home Ministry “will assess the response requirements that the foreign teams can provide”.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has cited this Plan to make his point for India to accept the offer from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to around 2.8 million expatriate Indians, most of whom hail from Kerala. Apart from the UAE, Qatar has offered Rs 36 crore and the Maldives $50,000 as financial aid to Kerala. India on Wednesday politely declined financial aid from foreign governments citing an existing policy.
“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,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement. “In line with the existing policy, the government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts,” Kumar said. “Contributions to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome.” (IANS)