After the series of natural calamities across different states, the Centre on Friday, October 4, approved additional financial assistance of Rs 1,813.75 crore to Karnataka and Bihar for the damages caused by rains and floods in the two states. The approval from Home Minister Amit Shah came after reviewing the ongoing rescue and relief work of all flood-affected states. Though there are about 15 states that have been severely affected during this monsoon, only two states have got assistance from Centre till now.
Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha and Gujarat are the other states which were badly affected during the current monsoon season. However, these states did not receive any allocations in the latest announcement.
In August this year as well, the Centre had approved release of Rs 4,432 crore aid to three states which were hit by natural disasters in the 2018-2019 financial year. Odisha, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh were provided with relief funds. But Kerala, which had witnessed massive floods in August 2018, was left out from this aid allocation.
Also read: Karnataka Flood Relief Funds: Delayed and Meagre Allocation by Centre
A statement from the home ministry said that keeping in view the severity of flood situation and the fund positions in the State Disaster Relief Fund account of Bihar and Karnataka, the home minister has approved an advance release of Rs 400 crore to Bihar and Rs 1,200 crore to Karnataka from the National Disaster Relief "on account basis".
Karnataka and Bihar have apprised of the paucity of funds in the SDRF account resulting in delay in providing relief assistance to the affected people and requested for release of advance additional financial assistance from the NDRF. Bihar had also requested for advance release of the second instalment of the Centre's share of the SDRF for the year 2019-20, following which an amount of Rs 213.75 crore was approved.
The statement said the Centre supplements the efforts of the state governments by providing assistance for relief of immediate nature through the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as per established procedure. The SDRF has been constituted for each state.
The central government contributes 75% for general category states and 90% for Northeastern and hilly states of the SDRF allocation each year. The first charge of relief expenditure is on the SDRF and in the cases of calamities of severe nature, it is supplemented from the NDRF as per established procedure.
Also read: Kerala Floods 2019: 121 dead, 1,789 Houses Collapsed
According to report from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), as on October 2, 1,712 people from these states have lost their lives in various disasters including flood, landslides, landslips, lightening etc. In Maharashtra alone, 380 people had died, West Bengal had seen the death of 227 people and both in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, 181 people have lost their lives.
The total damages in these affected states are yet to be calculated since the surveys are still going on along with the rehabilitation of the affected people. So, the delayed relief assistance would affect the rebuilding works in these states.