An Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) under the Home Ministry will soon visit 11 flood-affected States, including Kerala and Assam, to assess the damage. The Ministry has changed rules and from now on, the IMCT will visit the affected areas even before receiving a memorandum from the State concerned.
The other States that will be visited by the Central team are Meghalaya, Tripura, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Criticism from Kerala
On Tuesday, Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac took to Twitter to criticise the Union Home Ministry of allocating “zero” funds to Kerala.
“Home Ministry approves Rs 4,432 crores from National Disaster Response Fund for the flood affected States. Share of Kerala, the worst affected, is zero!” Mr. Isaac said on Twitter.
A senior Home Ministry official said the Central team would soon visit other flood-affected States, including Kerala.
In the combined rescue operations in the States affected by floods, landslides etc. during the current monsoon season, the NDRF, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard have rescued and shifted to safer places more than 1,53,000 people.
“The IMCT will henceforth be constituted immediately in the aftermath of any natural calamity of severe nature, which will visit the affected areas in the State so as to have first-hand assessment of damages caused and relief work carried out by the State administration. The IMCT will again visit the State after submission of the memorandum for detailed assessment of the damage and relief operations conducted for making final recommendations for allocation of additional funds,” the Home Ministry said in a statement.
At present, the IMCT visits the affected State only once, after the receipt of the memorandum from the State.
The Centre has also approved release of over ₹4,432 crore to Odisha, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh for the damage caused by natural calamities in these States during the last financial year.
In a statement, the Home Ministry said a high-level committee, headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, has approved additional Central assistance of ₹3338.22 crore to Odisha for the damage caused by the cyclone Fani; ₹1029.39 crore to Karnataka for drought; and ₹64.49 crore to Himachal Pradesh for avalanches and hailstorm during 2018-19.
The funds will be disbursed from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). This additional assistance is over and above the funds released by the Centre in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) already placed at the disposal of States.
During 2018-19, the Central government had released ₹9,658 crore to all States, and during 2019-20, till date, it has released ₹6,104 crore to 24 States from the SDRF, the statement said.
The meeting also reviewed the ongoing flood situation in different parts of the country and the logistic support provided by Central agencies, including the deployment of the NDRF and Defence forces.