04:39 GMT +312 November 2019
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    People wait for aid on the roof of their house at a flooded area in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 17, 2018

    Indian Gov't Faces Flak for Refusing Foreign Aid for Flood Victims

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    While the UAE offered $100 million in aid, the Maldives announced a donation of $50,000 as a token contribution in solidarity with the flood-ravaged Indian state of Kerala where millions of people have become homeless and infrastructure worth $2.5 billion has been razed.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India on Wednesday officially declined all aid offered by a number of states, including the United Arab of Emirates (UAE), the Maldives, and Thailand for relief assistance to the flood-affected state of Kerala. In a late night statement, external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India appreciated the offers but  was turning down the offer "in line with existing policy."

    "The Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts," Raveesh Kumar, a spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs, stated.

     The Indian government, nevertheless, is accepting contributions from non-resident Indians, persons of Indian origin and international foundations.

    In 2004, the then government led by Manmohan Singh had adopted a policy of not accepting foreign assistance in times of natural disasters claiming that India had enough domestic capacity to deal with any disasters and their aftermath. Maintaining this policy, India had declined aid from Russia in July 2013 during devastating floods in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

    However, the government of Kerala has criticized the central government led by Narendra Modi for refusing foreign aid while itself not providing adequate assistance to the state.

    "It's natural for countries to help each other during a crisis. It happens everywhere. The national disaster management policy announced by the Centre in May 2016 has clearly stated that accepting voluntary contributions from foreign countries during a crisis is permissible," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media.

    Modi's critics have observed that foreign aid in times of natural disasters of such intensity should not be linked with politics.

    "A global donor meet was held for Kutch after 2001 quake; should be one for Kerala too! When it comes to funds; not a moment to cite Manmohan Singh Govt precedent. Just take all the voluntary aid we get from across the world and help rebuild Kerala. If UAE offers help, take it!" Rajdeep Sardesai, a senior journalist, argued.

    More than 300 people have been reported killed and over a million are in relief camps following incessant rains in the southern Indian state of Kerala since mid-August. 

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    Tags:
    financial assistance, rehabilitation, disaster relief, Floods, death, criticism, Narendra Modi, Kerala, UAE, India
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