It is procedurally and morally wrong for India government to block international assistance to Kerala from friendly countries and UN. This is a step that belies the faith of ordinary citizen on India’s federal polity.
350 dead, 1m displaced, $20B in damages – Kerala floods is a high order calamity which wiped away livelihood of millions and has thrown state economy into a critical state. Kerala needs all the assistance it can muster to bring itself back again. Central government has so far sanctioned only a measly 600 crores which is grossly inadequate for Kerala’s cleanup and reconstruction which alone requires close to 25000 crore.
As per National Disaster Management Plan 2016 section 9.2 and 9.3 published by central government – donations given voluntarily by other countries can be accepted .
9.2 Accepting Foreign Assistance
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. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is required to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, which is primarily responsible for reviewing foreign offers of assistance and channelizing the same. In consultation with the concerned State Government, the MHA will assess the response requirements that the foreign teams can provide.
Also international help can be accepted based on requirement. Kerala requires it NOW!
9.3 Accepting Multilateral Assistance
In the case of an offer of assistance from UN Agencies, the India will accept the offer only if the government considers it necessary, based on various factors. If accepted, GoI will issue directions to the respective Ministry or State Government to coordinate with the concerned UN agency. Any financial assistance offered by UN financial institutions involving foreign exchange will require the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs, GoI. India will allow UN agencies and international NGOs already operating in the country at the time of the disaster event to continue their humanitarian assistance to people in the affected area in coordination with the relevant Central Ministries/Departments and the State Government as per applicable norms and protocols.
So Centre is procedurally wrong in their stand.
Money and material assistance given by other countries like UAE, Qatar, Maldives etc. shows their care and goodwill for Malayalis who have played a great part in the economic success of those nations. This is assistance to Kerala – federal entity within India. Central government as custodian of foreign relations in the federal system has no moral right to deny assistance to Kerala from friendly nations. As a gatekeeper – their only job has to be to let the help flow through.
So centre is morally wrong in their stand.
Kerala Floods are an unprecedented calamity that happened in a huge expanse. We need all the monetary, material, technological and planning expertise that we can get internationally to bounce back. India government have not made money nor expertise available to Kerala. Malayalis with a high standard of living expect a higher level of support and help from Centre and International community at this juncture. By belying that – centre is only paving way for our resentment being part of a Union that does not care for Kerala.
Please note that Kerala has been getting back only 25 paise per every ₹ of tax money paid to Indian government. I demand central government compensate Kerala fully for all losses and let the international aid flow or leave us alone – we will figure out how to fend for ourselves.
We need our TAX money back NOW!
Anuraj Ennai is an entrepreneur from Kerala