Strange obstinacy

The United Arab Emirates has offered Rs. 700 crore to Kerala flood victims. But the Centre has refused to accept the offer. Coming to the aid of flood or quake or epidemic victims is natural for every human being, every society and every country. The obstinacy to refuse to accept such help is inexplicable. Maybe the amount of the offer (Rs.700 crore) has hurt the amour propre of the Centre which has sanctioned only Rs. 500 crore for Kerala. Refusing relief for afflicted people shows a strange mentality. India itself has gone all out in aid of victims of natural disasters in other countries. The latest such instance was the Operation Amity – the massive relief and rescue operation undertaken by different Indian agencies and the Indian Army in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April, 2015. India has very cordial relations with the UAE. The two countries are cooperating with each other in different fields including combating terrorism. That makes New Delhi’s refusal all the more strange. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has accused the Centre of following a dog-in-the-manger policy.
Disallowing flow of aid to distressed people from a friendly country is very unusual. The official stand of New Delhi is that the Government will not accept any foreign aid for the flood victims. All intended donors will be told “Thank you but no thanks.” The BJP justifies its stand on the plea that the decision not to accept foreign aid was taken by the UPA. Did the BJP tell the voters in 2014 that if voted to power it would follow the policies of the UPA and stick to the decisions taken by the UPA?  India has also refused to accept the offer of aid from the Maldives. In view of that country’s hostile attitude to India, this is fully justified. But UAE does not stand on the same footing as the Maldives as far as relations with India are concerned. The reason for refusal can only be political which the Government does not want to disclose. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has accused the Centre of pursuing a dog-in-the-manger policy. 
Kerala needs massive aid to rebuild its economy. Essential public utility facilities like hospitals have suffered enormous losses. Hospitals have lost costly equipment and instruments essential for diagnosis and treatment. If the Centre does not revise its stand on accepting foreign aid then other States, philanthropic organizations and common people will have to come to the aid of Kerala by providing money and materials.

Saturday, 25 August, 2018