An audited statement of the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund in response to an RTI filed by activist Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra showed that around one-third of the funds was spent in 2020-21 fiscal.
According to the RTI response, the amount received by the PM CARES funds is in billions. (Rs 1,09,90,17,32,873). Rs 10,990 crore was received in 2020-21.
READ | PM Modi takes Congress to the cleaners in searing Parliament speech
More than Rs 7,183 crore was received as “voluntary contributions”. More than Rs 494 crore was received from foreign contributors.
The expenditure amounted to Rs 3,976 crore in 2020-21. As much as Rs 1,311 crore was spent on ‘Made in India’ ventilators for government hospitals across the country. Rs 1,000 crores was allocated to states for migrant workers’ welfare schemes.
The PM CARES Fund was set up to deal with emergencies such as the Covid pandemic.
The overall contribution to the fund received in 2019-20 was Rs 3,076.62 crore which was collected in just five days of its formation on March 27, 2020, with an initial corpus of Rs 2.25 lakh.
According to details posted on the website of the ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)’, it consists “entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals/organisations and does not get any budgetary support”.
The government has used a part of the money to buy medical equipment, including ventilators, to boost the battle against the Covid-19 and has also provided relief to migrants.
ALSO READ | Center seeks dismissal of petition against use of PM’s name, national emblem by PM CARES
Opposition parties have, however, criticized the PM CARES fund, claiming its contributions and expenses are not transparent, a charge denied by the government.
According to the latest audited statement, it disbursed Rs 1,311 crore for 50,000 made-in-India ventilators to government hospitals, Rs 50 crore for the establishment of two 500-beds Covid hospitals in Muzaffarpur and Patna, and 16 RT-PCR testing labs in nine states.
Further, Rs 201.58 crore was spent on oxygen plants at public health facilities, while Rs 20.4 crore was disbursed for the upgradation of labs working on Covid vaccines.
While Rs 1,000 crore was allocated to states and Union territories for the welfare of migrants, Rs 1,392.82 crore was spent on the procurement of 6.6 crore doses of Covid vaccines.
The fund also spent Rs 1.01 lakh as bank charges.
The fund’s closing balance as of March 31, 2021, stood at Rs 7,013.99 crore, more than double of the Rs 3,076.62 crore a year ago.
A total of Rs 10,990.17 crore was received during the 2020-21 fiscal, including through interest income and refund of unspent balance from NDMA, while Rs 3,976.17 crore was dispersed during the period, according to the audited statement prepared by Chartered Accountants SARC and associates.
The fund was set up as a public charitable trust “keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected”.
,With inputs from PTI,
ALSO READ | RBI is working on launching India’s digital currency, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman