CPI(M) has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the creation of the PM Cares Fund for those affected by coronavirus and said a similar fund was set up after the Pulwama attack and there has been no transparency about it. The Polit Bureau said in a statement that a separate fund for the COVID-19 pandemic was unnecessary.
The statement said the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) has been in existence since 1948 and has an unspent balance of Rs 3,800 crore. The accounts of the fund are transparent; audited by the CAG, and auto-generated receipts are given to the donors, it said. It also said that on the trust set up for the new fund, the Prime Minister and three other ministers were trustees, without any opposition party or civil society leaders as members.
"Substantial donations have poured in from the corporate world, celebrities, public sector undertakings etc. There are reports that a day's salary is being deducted from government employees and professionals, the armed and para-military forces as a contribution towards this fund. Further, corporates will be considered as fulfilling their CSR obligations by merely contributing to this fund. "There is no mention of maintenance of accounts, their auditor on the answerability of the decisions taken by these four trustees. In short, there is no transparency and accountability," it alleged.
After the Pulwama terrorist attack, a similar fund was set up called the Bharat ke Veer", to provide assistance to the victims of this tragedy. "However, so far, no transparency or accountability on how this fund was utilized is visible. In this background, the PM Cares raises many disturbing questions...Under these circumstances, given the federal principles of our Constitution, the amounts collected by this new fund should be transferred to the PMNRF and from there to the state governments for meeting the challenges of the pandemic and saving people's lives," it said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), where citizens can contribute to aide the government's efforts in supporting those affected by disasters. This fund will provide relief to the affected from any walk of life dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation. PM Modi also urged Indians to donate generously. The fund is chaired by PM Modi and includes Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
(With PTI inputs)