Special proposal needed for aid

August 20, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 04:34 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Centre rates flood as a Level I disaster

The State government will have to submit a special proposal to the Central government for securing additional assistance to manage the havoc wreaked by the floods.

Sources privy to the procedures told The Hindu here that after furnishing the proposal with specific details regarding the damage sustained in different realms such as agriculture, road and other infrastructure facilities, the Union Cabinet could consider it as a special case and grant the assistance.

The Centre has already rated the flood as a Level I disaster as per the National Disaster Management Plan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a preliminary relief of Rs. 500 crore. This is in line with the provisions of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005. Central government agencies have already been pressed into service to support and complement the rescue and relief operations of the State government agencies. Moreover, agencies such as the National Highway Authority of India will be tasked to rebuild the battered roads and restoring other infrastructure facilities damaged by the flood.

Since the norms for providing assistance and relief as per the Act are applicable to all States, the Centre will have to take a political decision to provide additional assistance to meet the State’s demand. Any deviation, without a Cabinet consent, would set a precedent and other States may also point out such assistance in future, sources said.

Army assistance

A decision on deploying Army to meet an exigency is made by the executive of the National Disaster Management Authority. The committee would provide the assistance of the forces only on the basis of an endorsement of a civilian authority and would not take the onus for the micro-level operations, sources said.

Rare exceptions are only to meet exigencies such as civil disturbances and such action will be taken only after clamping the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This possibility could be explored even in the case of a natural disaster, but whether the present situation demands such a drastic action was the moot question, sources said.

The State could well contend that the rates fixed by the authority are too low and could seek more flexibility, but it may not be considered immediately and the norms may not be revised to sanction more for one State alone, they said.

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