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India will meet requirements of Kerala's rehabilitation through ‘domestic efforts': MEA

By Vikas

New Delhi, Aug 22: Amid hue and cry over the Centre's unwillingness to accept foreign funds for Kerala's rehabilitation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday made it clear that India is committed to meeting requirements for the relief through domestic efforts.

Kerala inundated by floods

United Arab Emirates (UAE) had earlier offered Rs 700 cr relief to rehabilitate Kerala which has been devastated by floods. It was reported that the Centre may refuse to accept the aid as it was against the government 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)...In line with existing policy, government is committed to meeting requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts. Contributions to PM Relief Fund and CM Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome," an MEA statement said.

The central government has already announced Rs 600 crore in aid, and also assured relief materials including food grain, medicines would be provided.

While the flood-battered state has asked for a Rs 2,600 crore special package from the Centre for its Rs 20,000 crore losses, the latter has so far extended Rs 600 crore in help.

[Kerala: It has been a policy since Dec 2004 to refuse foreign aid during disasters]

On Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and former CM Oommen Chandy, all raised questions as to how the state will recover from the massive damages if the Centre keeps rejecting foreign aid

However not accepting foreign aid is part of the Disaster Aid Policy that has been in place since December 2004. This policy has been followed since the tsunami hit India in December 2004.

[Kerala floods: Why the road to recovery will be a very long one]

Back then, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was the Prime Minister had said that India could manage on its own. He further said that if the need arose, then India would think of accepting financial aid from foreign countries. This has been the policy since then. Prior to this India had accepted foreign aid on various occasions.

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