Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that President Donald Trump’s statement withdrawing from the Paris climate deal sent the message that America’s own concerns were paramount and was a “shock” for India and the world community.
Singh, who was inaugurating the two-day national conference on ‘Capacity Building of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF)-2017’, added that the US would “definitely” have a re-think on the issue.
“The international community should get onboard so that the environmental balance is not destroyed,” he said.
The US president’s recent statement about the Paris deal sent the message that the world community was not one and that a country was only concerned about its own environment, the minister said.
It was to be seen in what circumstances the US made such a statement, he added. For “people like us (India) and the international community, this has come as a shock.”
“I am sure that the US will definitely re-think on this,” he stated.
Announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris deal on June 1, Trump had claimed that India had made its participation in the agreement “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions dollars in foreign aid”.
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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had rejected Trump’s comment yesterday and said India signed the Paris climate pact not because of pressure from any country or due to the lure of money.
“Our signature in the pact was not because of greed, it was not because of fear. We signed it due to our commitment to protecting the environment... India will continue to be part of it irrespective of whether the US remains in it or not,” Swaraj had told reporters.
Moving on from the climate deal, Rajnath Singh said state governments should raise their own State Disaster Response Funds (SDRFs) to make the country “disaster resilient”.
He expressed his concern over many states not having their own independent disaster response forces.
Only 20 states and three union territories had raised their SDRFs, the minister said. “I will be happy to see all of them having such units to make themselves and the country strong and self-reliant to combat disasters.”
“The initiative for disaster risk reduction should be escalated by everyone...whatever technology guidance and help is expected from the Centre, we will do it,” he said.
Singh painted a scenario where multiple states face the wrath of disaster at one time. Hence, all states and other government and non-government agencies should have bilateral and multilateral cooperation amongst themselves, he stressed.
“We have to shift our focus from disaster management to being disaster resilient.”
The home minister said the Union government has also increased allocation under SDRF from Rs 30,581 crore during 2010-15 to Rs 61,220 crore for 2015-2020.
Two new battalions of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been created. They are based in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and in Arunachal Pradesh, he said.
NDRF Director General R K Pachnanda, who also addressed the gathering, said the two-day conference was aimed at preparing SDRFs as “first responders” in an event when they are hit by a disaster.
“We have sensitised about 50 lakh people in the country against disasters and I can assure the country that the NDRF is for you, with you, always and everytime,” the DG said.