The Narendra Modi-led government at the centre has refused to accept the Rs 700 crore donation offered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Kerala flood rehabilitation, citing a policy to use only domestic funds, leaving the Kerala government and Malayalis on Twitter fuming.
According to reports, the spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs, Raveesh Kumar, said on Tuesday, "In line with the existing policy, the Government is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts."
He, however, said that contributions to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund and the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would be welcome.
Appreciating offers from other countries to help in the Kerala floods, the MEA spokesperson said that the government needed to go through "domestic" efforts to help rebuild the destruction cause by the Kerala floods.
'Dog in the manger policy'
A furious Thomas Isaac, Kerala's minister of finance, took to Twitter to express his anger, and pointed out that Chapter 9 of the National Disaster Management Plan mentions that in case of a severe calamity, foreign aid could be accepted by India.
He also pointed out the that money being offered to Kerala by the centre was much less than the state had asked for.
We asked Union Gov for financial support of ₹2200 Cr ; they grant us a precious ₹600 Cr . We make no request to any foreign gov but UAE gov voluntarily offer ₹700cr. No, says Union gov , it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid. This is a dog in the manger policy.— Thomas Isaac (@drthomasisaac) August 22, 2018
National Disaster Management Plan Chapter 9 on international cooperation accepts that in time severe calamity voluntary aid given by a foreign gov can be accepted. Still if Union Gov chooses to adopt a negative stance towards offer made byUAE gov they should compensate Kerala— Thomas Isaac (@drthomasisaac) August 22, 2018
The South Remembers
This quickly blew up into a north vs south issue with Twitter users blaming the government for only pandering to northern states for votes and ignoring the woes of the southern states in the process. Some threatened the Modi government of consequences in the 2019 elections.
In the last 4 days, I have travelled across 8 districts in Kerala and been part of countless conversations involving relief material. I have heard of only 2 instances of a single organization that is unwilling to share relief material. Guess who?— Martin A. K. (@crazytwism) August 22, 2018
"When the rain falls and the heavy wind blow, the lone man dies, but the pack survives, tell them, the south remembers" #Kerala#KeralaFloods#KeralaFloods2018#KeralaReliefFundpic.twitter.com/ulHhd18UZ2— Austin Alex (@austee) August 22, 2018
"When people ask you what happened here after election, tell them the south remembers..." pic.twitter.com/fLZRLurg6i— danish xavier (@danishxr) August 23, 2018
The centre should keep fucking up. We will remember. #KeralaRemembers— 👉🏼💪🏼 (@afatminimalist) August 22, 2018