PM-CARES FUND TO BUY VENTILATORS
NEW DELHI: The PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) fund has announced its first ever allotment — ₹3,100 crore on meeting the demand for ventilators, welfare of migrant workers, and supporting the ambitious programme to develop a vaccine.
In a statement, the government said: “₹2,000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, ₹1,000 crore will be used for care of migrant labourers and ₹100 crore will be given to support vaccine development.”
THE FIRST ALLOTMENT COMES JUST SIX WEEKS AFTER THE FUND WAS FORMED ON MARCH 27. THE FUND, SET UP AS A TRUST, IS HEADED BY PM NARENDRA MODI
NEWDELHI:The PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) fund announced its first ever allotment on Wednesday -- ~3,100 crore to be spent on meeting the demand for ventilators, welfare of migrant workers, and supporting the ambitious programme to develop a vaccine against Covid19 virus.
In a statement, the government said: “₹2000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, ₹1000 crores will be used for care of migrant labourers and ₹100 crores will be given to support vaccine development.”
The first allotment comes just six weeks after the fund was formed on March 27. The fund, set up as a trust, is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi . Other ex-officio members of the trust are Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The PM—Chairperson of the Board of Trustees—shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board who are “eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy” a government statement released at the time of the fund’s creation said.
The first allotment of ₹3100 crore comes hours after the finance minister announced the details of the first tranche of the Centre’s relief package.
With tens and thousands of migrants fleeing back to their states of domicile, ₹1000 crore will be given to states ; this will be at the disposal of the District Collectors/Municipal Commissioners. They fund will be used to support the states in “providing accommodation facilities, making food arrangements, providing medical treatment and making transportation arrangements of the migrants,” the statement added.
The money will be divided between the states on the basis of their population and number of Covid-19 cases. “State/UT-wise funds will be released on the weightage of (a) Population of the State/UT as per 2011 Census – 50%, weightage (b) Number of positive Covid-19 cases as on date – 40% weightage and (c) Equal share (10% weightage) for all states/UTs to ensure basic minimum sum for all states,” it said.
The fund will be used to purchase 50,000 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators to augment the infrastructure for tackling the Covid pandemic. These ventilators will be provided to government-run Covid hospitals in all States/UTs.
While a large part of the fund will be used for immediate requirements, the government is also keen on developing an indigenous vaccine. Pointing out that a vaccine against Covid-19 is the “most pressing need” and that Indian academia, start-ups and industry have come together to wok on cutting-edge vaccine design and development, PM CARES fund plans to spend ₹100 crore ton this initiative. The PM’s Principal Scientific Advisor will supervise the utilisation.
The PM Cares fund has attracted contributions from large companies. The creation of the fund has generated some controversy with several opposition parties wondering about why the PM’s National Relief Fund wasn’t being used for this. Some chief ministers have raised objections about contributions by companies to the PM Cares fund being eligible for spends under Corporate Social Responsibility activities, but those to the chief ministers’ funds not being eligible. The government has said that the fund will be audited by independent auditors, and not the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The current corpus of the fund isn’t known.