False nationalism

The state of Kerala is now looking to get back on its feet after two weeks of massive flooding. But extending relief to the state has now got deeply enmeshed in federal politics. Kerala has lost over 200 people and suffered losses of over Rs 21,000 crores ($2.85 billion), according to the government estimates. The state, run by communist party, is now desperate for material and monetary support. It sought around Rs 2,200 crore in relief from the prime minister Narendra Modi-led central government, which granted only Rs 600 crore. Adding salt to the injury, the government of India is refusing to accept foreign aid for the Kerala. Countries like Thailand, UAE, Qatar etc offered assistance but India has so far refused to accept them which is strange. Even countries like US accepted aid from across the world post Hurricane Katrina.
The Rs 600 crore offered by the central government till now is only a fraction of what Kerala may require. As government of India has stopped the state from accepting foreign aid, it should significantly increase the fund for assistance. Political difference should not come in the way of rebuilding the state. Also in reality, nothing really prevents the government from accepting help from abroad. Infact Kerala Chief Minister P Vijayan on Wednesday pointed out that the 2016 National Disaster Management Policy says, “If a government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the central government may accept the offer.” The false nationalism should not become an obstacle in the rebuilding process.