India’s decision to decline foreign aid for the flood-ravaged state of Kerala drew criticism from the opposition. The southern state was hit by the worst flooding in a century that killed hundreds of people.
The BJP ruled government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced assistance of Rupees 600 crore, compared with a request from the state for at least Rs 2,000 crore. Modi has promised more aid and his government said late on Wednesday that would come through “domestic efforts”.
“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,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “In line with the existing policy, the government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts.”
The United Arab Emirates has offered assistance of Rs 700 crore while Qatar offered $5 million. A majority of people from Kerala live and work in the Gulf countries.
The main opposition Congress party accused Modi of exacerbating the crisis by failing to come through with more aid and creating obstacles to foreign help. “This decision is quite disappointing to the people of Kerala,” Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wrote in a public letter to Modi.
The foreign ministry said the government would welcome contributions to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund from foundations, Indians living abroad and from people of Indian origin.
Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said on Twitter the central government should compensate the state for refusing foreign aid.
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