Does Kerala need more funds?

As Kerala struggles to come to grips with the worst floods in its history, the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and restoration of livelihoods pose a daunting challenge for the State government. Initial estimates put the loss at Rs. 20,000 crore but officials feel the extent of the damage could be more than twice the figure. “The total loss will probably run into billions of dollars. Think about Mississippi, Katrina and the Thailand floods — they all ran into tens of billions of dollars. Finding money to recover from this level of damage is difficult,” says G. Pramod Kumar, former adviser, UNDP. Where will funds come from? Following aerial surveys of the flood-affected areas by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Central government announced an interim relief of Rs. 600 crore for the State against a demand for Rs. 2,000 crore as emergency assistance. Having completed a week-long rescue operation with the help of the armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force, the State government announced a massive reconstruction programme. But mobilising resources for a project on this scale remains a challenge for the economy of the State that leans heavily on the diminishing remittances by a large diaspora. How much has the CM collected? The Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has mopped up Rs. 535 crore by way of donations by individuals, institutions and organisations across the world. Who suffered the most losses? It is significant that a huge part of the destruction happened to private assets. The floods caused widespread damage to houses and property. According to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, 7,000 houses have been destroyed and 50,000 damaged in the floods. According to Mr. Kumar, the government may not have enough resources even to rebuild public assets such as roads, hospitals, schools and bridges. The private properties will have to be rebuilt by the people. “Where will they find the money? Nobody knows,” he points out.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/does-kerala-need-more-funds/article24782793.ece

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