- India has turned down the UAE’s offer of Rs 700 crore monetary supports for flood relief in Kerala.
- India has also turned down similar offers from Maldives, Qatar and Thailand.
- In the aftermath of Tsunami, India changed its disaster aid policy from being foreign aid receiving country to routinely rejecting bilateral assistance.
- Since 2004, India has refused diplomatic aid from various countries.
- India continues to reject bilateral disaster assistance despite National Disaster Management Plan, 2016 allowing for it.
Why don’t we accept bilateral assistance?
- The policy is basically symbolic, to showcase India’s capacity to handle disasters on its own.
- India’s macroeconomic situation is robust.
- Accepting from any one government makes it diplomatically difficult to refuse from others.
- India believes that diplomatic aid from rich to poor has become irrelevant in a globalising world.
- To shed memories of a past that saw it dependent on US rice during the 1960s to avoid starvation deaths.
External aid for disasters
According to National Disaster Management Plan, 2016
- Bilateral Assistance
- The Union government may accept the offer of disaster aid from a foreign country, if the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture.
- As seen above India has not accepted bilateral assistance for disasters from 2004.
- Multi-donor agencies
- An offer of assistance from UN agencies, India will accept the offer only if the government considers it necessary.
- UN agencies and international NGOs operating in India are allowed to extend humanitarian assistance.
- However any financial assistance will require the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs.
- India has accepted financial aid from World Bank, ADB and UN agencies for Tsunami relief, Uttarakhand floods etc.
- Individuals and charity organizations are allowed to contribute for disaster relief.