Centre releases Rs 600 cr aid to Kerala

NEW DELHI, AUG 21 (IANS) | Publish Date: 8/21/2018 11:16:45 AM IST

 UAE offers Rs 700 cr; India unlikely to accept foreign aid

Centre on Tuesday released Rs 600 crore to the Kerala government for relief work in the flood-ravaged state and decided to waive Customs Duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) on relief materials being imported.
The money released included Rs 500 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rs 100 crore by Home Minister Rajnath Singh during their visits to the state, said a Union Home Ministry statement.  The money was released after the sixth consecutive meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) chaired by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha here. 
The Finance Ministry informed the NCMC that it had decided to “waive the Customs Duty and GST on the relief materials being imported to aid the people in the flood-affected areas in Kerala”.
The Department of Food and Public Distribution said it had made additional allocation of 89,540 tonnes of rice as per the state government’s request while the Consumer Affairs Department said it was sending additional quantities of green gram and Tur dal, in addition to 100 tonnes of pulses supplied earlier. 
Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies have contributed Rs 25 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in Kerala, the NCMC said. Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has opened special points in the flood affected areas for LPG distribution and permission had been granted, in coordination with the state government, for non-certified vehicles to carry LPG cylinders. 
Indian Railways said it had so far supplied 24 lakh litres of drinking water in addition to 2.7 lakh water bottles. Another 14 lakh litres water was available at Ernakulam district. 
The Railway Ministry said it had also made arrangements for supply of bed sheets and blankets and that trains on all sections had resumed. 
Health Ministry said it would supply three crore chlorine tablets in addition to one crore tablets supplied earlier and that 30 tonnes of bleaching powder and 1.76 lakh sanitary pads had also been sent. Ministry of Food Processing Industries said essential spices, salt, tea and coffee were being supplied as per the state government’s requirement. 
India unlikely to accept foreign aid: Centre is unlikely to accept any foreign financial assistance for flood relief operations in Kerala, official sources said. They said government has taken a considered decision to rely solely on domestic efforts to tide over the situation.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered USD 100 million (around Rs 700 crore) as financial assistance for flood relief operation in Kerala. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, called up Prime Minister Modi and made the offer for assistance, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Thiruvananthapuram.
The government of Maldives has also decided to donate USD 50,000 (Rs 35 lakh) for flood affected people in Kerala.

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