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Fact check: Did Central govt ‘ignore Left-ruled Kerala’ in releasing flood relief fund, as claimed by India Today

The news looks shocking in first glance and raises the immediate question that ‘Out of Rs 5908 Crores allocated for 2019-2020, why there was zero funding for Kerala’? Our mainstream media often follows the principle of ‘Dont let facts come in the way of propaganda’.

Many of us saw the IndiaToday article claiming that Centre has not allocated any funds for Kerala flood relief. They try to further sensationalise this news by raising apprehensions about political vendetta by BJP since Kerala is ‘Left’ ruled state. The headline of the article read, “No flood relief to Kerala, Centre ignores Left-ruled state again in fund release”.

India Today headline

The news looks shocking in first glance and raises the immediate question that ‘Out of Rs 5908 Crores allocated for 2019-2020, why there was zero funding for Kerala’? Our mainstream media often follows the principle of ‘Dont let facts come in the way of propaganda’. And we at Opindia are determined to ruin their propaganda. So I decided to probe this charge based on publicly available information which India Today and other news portals also have access to.

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Like it happens often with such news items, this is also the case of relying on people’s limited memory and author’s ability to confuse people by selectively quoting data. We all remember how devastating floods ravaged Kerala recently. We also remember there were attempts to portray the Centre government as a villain.

People cheered the news of (non-existent) Rs 700 Crore grant from UAE and mocked the Modi government. But wait! When was this? Last year? No, it was in the year 2018. And the Rs 5908 Cr grant Centre has approved (from NDRF kitty) is for 2019-20.

Read: Was the ‘UAE extends Rs 700 crore aid for Kerala flood’ assertion just a big fat lie?

Floods hit Kerala in 2019 too but the magnitude wasn’t as big as 2018 and hence it wasn’t declared a national calamity, therefore NDRF funds were given to the states that needed more help.

The disaster management division website defines the NDRF fund as below:

The National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), constituted under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, supplements SDRF of a State, in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in SDRF.

It must be remembered that the NDRF fund is allocated in 2 phases. The first instalment of Rs 10,000 Cr was announced earlier and next one (5908 Cr) came recently on which these news portals are reporting.

A quick look at the state-wise fund allocation for Disaster relief will throw more light on this. In 2019, Centre allocated Rs 168.75 Cr and Kerala Govt allocated Rs 56.25 Cr for Kerala’s SDRF. Out of this Rs 52.275 Cr were utilised by Kerala govt. It means Kerala SDRF has a balance of Rs 173 Cr available from 2019 allocation quota. Why Left lead Kerala govt didn’t utilise funds, can these analysts tell us which vendetta Kerala govt was doing?

NDTF fund allocation 2019-2020

A little more digging on the NDM India website will tell us Kerala state already has a balance of Rs 2107 Cr available as on 1st April 2019 (that was not utilized during 2018 floods which were 4 times more devastating than 2019 floods in terms of human causalities)

So Kerala has Rs 2107 Cr available from the Year 2018, add to it Rs 173 Cr which were not spent in 2019 (Rs 2280 Cr) which is mostly provided by Centre government itself. And people are seeing vendetta here?

Read: From Fani, Titli, Gaja, Kerala floods to Karnataka: Here is how the Modi government has responded to natural disasters

Since people are so fond of crying vendetta, I would wonder how do they explain the omission of Gujarat, UP, Uttarakhand (BJP ruled states) in phase 1? How do they explain granting Rs 1000 Cr, Rs 3000 Cr and Rs 500 Cr to Rajasthan, Odisha and Andhra (neither of them is BJP ruled) in phase 1? How will they explain Rs 1749 Cr to MP and Rs 956 Cr to Maharashtra in phase 2 (both of them are non-BJP states)?

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