Things are not looking pretty good for flood-hit Kerala as the state might have to wait for a few months to receive the complete financial aid package from the Centre. According to officials, the process of assessing the extent of damage and fund release takes time.
The central government has to follow some set rules and guidelines before awarding the final aid after the initial funds are released to any state during a natural calamity, according to a Home Ministry official told news agency PTI.
So far, Rs 600 crore has been released for Kerala by the Centre. The central government is supposed to contribute 75 percent to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for general category states and 90 percent for states that lie in the hilly areas and have a special category, according to the existing guidelines on disaster relief funds.
The government releases the amount in two instalments in each financial year in June and December.
The state government, in order to get relief from the National Disaster Response Fund, will have to first submit a memorandum showing sector-wise damage giving proper justification for the requirement of funds. After this, an assessment is done which makes sure that whether the state needs additional assistance from the NDRF as per the existing guidelines. This again is a time-consuming process.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a statement on August 23 giving details of the flood relief measures taken by the central government. The statement said that submission of the memorandum by Kerala will take time
The centre would then examine the memorandum sent by the state government and assess the likely requirement of funds as per items and norms of expenditure under the SDRF/NDRF. In case, the examination reveals that the SDRF has adequate funds, the state would be advised accordingly and if it reveals that the state needs assistance, a central team will be deputed for making an on-the-spot assessment, as per the guidelines.
A central team will then submit a report after assessing the situation which will then be examined by the sub-committee of the national executive committee (SC-NEC) headed by the Union Home Secretary.
The memorandum from the state government, when comes, will be examined to assess the likely requirement of funds f the preliminary examination reveals that there are adequate funds in SDRF for providing relief as per norms, the state would be advised accordingly.
If the preliminary examination reveals that the state is in need of assistance, a central team will be deputed for making an on-the-spot assessment, the guidelines say. After the tour and assessment, the central team will submit a report.
The report of the central team will be examined by the sub-committee of the national executive committee (SC-NEC) headed by the Union Home Secretary. The SC-NEC will assess the extent of assistance and expenditure which can be funded from the NDRF as per norms and make recommendations.
All this will take a long time and that's why the flood-hit state will have to wait for the final relief package from the centre.
(With PTI inputs)