Centre’s decision to refuse flood aid from other countries unfortunate: Kerala minister

India may not accept aid from foreign countries for flood-hit Kerala

Chief Justice Rajendra Menon as well as the puisne Judges of the Delhi High Court have chose to make voluntary contributions to the Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund created for the Kerala floods relief.

To this end, the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation contributed donations of AED 10 million to support the floods victims in Kerala.

"As a responsible corporate citizen with deep roots in Kerala, we would like to do our best to mitigate the enormous suffering of the people of the state in this hour of need", said V.P Nandakumar.

Justifying the stand of the Centre, which is under fire for refusing aid for Kerala from countries like the UAE and Thailand, Alphons said this was a policy that was followed by the current government since former prime minister Manmohan Singh had refused aid from foreign countries in 2004 during the devastating Tsunami.

Since 2007, India has not accepted any aid from a country or a multinational organisation and the policy will remain the same for the present calamity also as per the sources. "Contributions to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund and the Chief Minister's Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and global entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome". Part of this was because, most of the aid also came with " strings attached" as the financial support, irrespective of the amount, was being used by these countries, mostly from the West, to lecture India on human rights, religious freedom or other such issues.

The home ministry should coordinate with the external affairs ministry-the agency primarily responsible for reviewing offers of foreign assistance-and the concerned state government, if it is to accept foreign aid, the NDMP states.

"It is below our dignity to accept foreign aid", he said in a tweet, mimicking and ridiculing the central government.

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Late on Wednesday night, in the wake of the offers, the MEA spokesperson said India deeply appreciated offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods.

The Kerala government had asked the Centre for 1.14 lakh tons of rice, the equivalent of the rice distributed through the state's public distribution network a month. Even Maldives, despite now frosty diplomatic ties with India, announced a donation of $50,000 (Rs 35 lakh). The situation has been regularly monitored by the Prime Minister and he visited the state on 17-18 August 2018. Close to three million Indians live in the Persian Gulf region, of whom, 80 per cent are from Kerala.

Apart from UAE, Qatar, Japan and Maldives had offered financial aid.

The UAE has a large population of expatriate Indian workers, many of them from Kerala. Other state governments have also pledged monetary assistance, as have various companies, non-profits, and civil society fundraisers.

Thousands of army, navy and air force personnel fanned out across the state to help those stranded in remote and hilly areas.

According to the report, the state will have to borrow heavily from the market as Central aid has only been a paltry Rs 600 crore, against an immediate demand for Rs 2,500 crore by the state, and the total loss is estimated at over Rs 21,000 crore.

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