In troubled times, Kerala has found a familiar friend in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The floods have left the Southern state devastated, killing 231 people since August 8 while 14 lakh have been displaced.
In troubled times, Kerala has found a familiar friend in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The floods have left the Southern state devastated, killing 231 people since August 8 while 14 lakh have been displaced. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought a Rs 2,600 crore special package from Centre as the state has reportedly suffered a loss of about Rs 20,000 crore. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an assistance of Rs 500 crore to go with Rs 100 crore aid released by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the amount stands far from what the Kerala CM had asked for.
Kerala accounts for 80 per cent of the three million Indians living in UAE. So, it came as no surprise when the Gulf country offered a financial assistance of USD 100 million (around Rs 700 crore) for flood relief operation in Kerala.
According to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, called up Prime Minister Modi and made the offer for assistance. However, as in the past, the Indian government is unlikely to take help from any other country.
Over the years, India has depended upon domestic efforts to tackle difficult situations and this is the reason why it is likely to reject the offer from UAE. An official source was quoted saying by PTI that government has taken a considered decision to rely solely on domestic efforts to tide over the situation.
Apart from UAE, the government of Maldives has also decided to donate USD 50,000 (Rs 35 lakh) for flood-affected people in Kerala. It is understood that the UN is also offering some assistance for Kerala which has witnessed the worst flood in a century.
The state government also asked the Centre to enhance its borrowing limit and sought permission to impose a 10 per cent cess on GST to mobilise funds for rebuilding Kerala, where 13 of its 14 districts were ravaged by monsoon rains since the first week of this month.
Under the present arrangement, Kerala can obtain three per cent of its gross state domestic product (GSDP) as loans and wants it to be raised to 4.5 per cent so the state can mobilise an additional Rs 10,500 crore from the open market. “A comprehensive package for rehabilitation of the flood victims and to rebuild Kerala will be submitted to centre,” Vijayan told a press conference.