Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Follow-up on Indian Tsunami Aid

No I haven't forgotten about the Tsunami :|

Earlier this month I wrote about India flexing its regional muscle. That post was mainly focused on India providing aid to other affected nations, but an underlying thing in there (which I don't think came out clearly enough) is the Indian tradition of self-reliance. In emailing some friends about this, we acknowledged that this could backfire if New Delhi couldn't get the monies to proper places at the right times. Afterall, even if the central government has resolve, it's the local authorities that have the true lead in what happens.

Well, as time has gone on, it's clear that New Delhi is backing up its initial desires to remain self-reliant. A $628 million aid package for the Indian mainland has just been announced. Let's be clear that this doesn't include the Andaman & Nicobar islands which has a separate relief & rebuilding effort underway (and which seems to be gaining steam everyday).

The simple announcement of this package doesn't mean that the people can rejoice. What I found heartening about this aid package is that the money will not be released until project details are actually announced. While that doesn't necessarily solve the problem of local beauracracy, money usually solves a lot of problems and holding it back will likely encourage these people to work together keeping timelines in mind.

One thing I must note is that I'm happy that I can now use the word "recontruction" in relation to this disaster. For me, it means so much in terms of how the people are coping. It's a sign that there are plans to get life back to normal. While we can still mourn for those lives lost, the focus needs to be on putting prosperity back into these regions.

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