Tuesday, July, 16,2024

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Debate Intensifies as Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B Questions Fairness of Central Disaster Relief Fund Distribution

Hyderabad (Telangana): After the recent floods in Tamil Nadu, a huge debate has started across India about how the central government decides to give relief funds to states affected by natural disasters. This debate became bigger following the disagreement between southern Indian states like Tamil Nadu and the centre regarding revenue sharing.

Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B, a seasoned chartered accountant and involved participant in Indian politics, has raised serious concerns over the current system for awarding relief funds. He stresses the urgent need for a fair and open process that considers the specific situations and requirements of each affected state.  

Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B shares that the crux of the issue lies in the disparity between the revenue generated by southern states through manufacturing, taxation, and other channels, and the amount returned to them by the centre. This dispute has been further fueled by the situation in Karnataka, where it's claimed that for every rupee sent to the centre, only 15 paise are returned.

“The present criteria for central aid distribution seems to be based on random factors, failing to account for the unique challenges faced by different states during natural calamities,” says Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B. “This one-size-fits-all approach not only goes against the principles of cooperative federalism but also endangers the well-being of those most impacted by such disasters.”

Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B further pointed out the inconsistencies in fund distribution, giving examples where states with relatively less severe impacts received substantial help. At the same time, those facing catastrophic consequences were left struggling with inadequate resources.

"It is high time we reviewed the aid distribution criteria to ensure that help is provided based on actual need and the extent of damage, rather than sticking to a rigid, predetermined formula," Shri CA. Venugopal Swami B asserted.  

The veteran policymaker's call for reform has garnered support from various stakeholders, including state governments, civil society groups, and disaster management experts. Many have echoed the need for a more flexible approach that prioritises both addressing the long-term revenue disparity and ensuring a fair and responsive system for disaster relief.

As India faces increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, the debate over central aid distribution criteria has taken centre stage. It remains to be seen how policymakers and authorities will address these concerns and work towards a more fair and responsive system of disaster relief and rehabilitation.

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