Kerala: It has been a policy since Dec 2004 to refuse foreign aid during disasters
New Delhi, Aug 22: The United Arab Emirates had offered financial assistance of Rs 700 crore for flood relief operations in Kerala, but the government is unlikely to accept it.
The government says that it had taken a considered decision to only rely on domestic efforts to tide over the situation.
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.
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.
The instances when India accepted foreign aid was during the Latur Earthquake of 1993, Uttarkashi earthquake of 1991, Bengal Cyclone of 2002, Gujarat earthquake of 2001 and Bihar floods of July 2004.
Post 2004, India has refused aid for the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 and also the Kashmir floods of 2014. Aid during this time was offered by countries such as US, Japan and Russia, but India had refused it.
The reason why India went ahead with this policy was to maintain uniformity. It would be difficult to refuse aid from one country, while accepting it from another. These could lead to diplomatic issues. Further India feels it is very much capable of handling such situations on its own.
The United Arab had offered around Rs 700 crore as financial assistance for flood relief operation in Kerala. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, called up Prime Minister Modi and made the offer for assistance, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Thiruvananthapuram.
Around three million Indians live and work in the UAE out of which 80% are from Kerala.
The government of Maldives has also decided to donate $50,000 (Rs 35 lakh) for flood affected people in Kerala. It is understood that the UN is also offering some assistance for Kerala.
The floods in Kerala have claimed nearly 231 lives and rendered around Rs 24 lakh homeless. As per an estimate, the total loss runs into nearly Rs 20,000 crore. Several states have offered assistance, while the Centre has given financial aid of Rs 600 crore.