New Delhi: On Tuesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the UAE has pledged Rs.700 crore for flood-battered Kerala. “A new Kerala has to be built. At today’s cabinet meeting, it has been decided to submit a detailed list to the Centre,” he said.
However, the central government may not accept the financial assistance offered by the UAE.
According to the report published in NDTV, a senior Ministry level officer said that presently, the central government is not accepting any financial help from foreign country. However, he said that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will take the final decision.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs made it clear that Indians who are staying in foreign countries can send donations to Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The donations will be tax-free.
As per senior official, foreign aid received by NGOs that are registered under FCRA will not be taxed. However, if NGO is not registered under FCRA, then the donations will be considered as the income of the organisation and it will be taxed.
It may be mentioned that following the devastating floods, over one million people are now sheltered in 3,274 relief camps in the state. The death toll since the monsoon rains began on May 29 has been estimated at around 370.
Till Monday, the total contributions received to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund was Rs 210 crore while another Rs 160 crore has been pledged.
A special session of the Kerala Assembly has been called from August 30 to discuss the huge destruction caused by the worst flooding in nearly a century and to chart the future course of action.
Mr. Vijayan said they would ask the Centre to allow Kerala to increase the market borrowings from 3 per cent of the state’s total revenue to 4.5 per cent. As a result, an additional Rs 10,000 crore can be raised.
“We have decided to approach agencies like NABARD whose mandate includes providing for infrastructure and drinking water. We will demand a special package for the state,” said Vijayan.