The PM CARES Fund which was set up by the Modi government as a private trust to provide relief and deal with Coronavirus pandemic related emergencies saw its corpus grow nearly three-fold to a whopping Rs 10,990 crore in 2020-21.
It is also worth recalling here that with an initial corpus of Rs 2.25 lakh, the PM CARES Fund had received Rs 3,076.62 within just five days of its formation on March 27, 2020.
According to an RTI query by Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra, it was found the disbursal remained poor .
As per the RTI reply, only Rs 3,976 crore could be spent by the Fund. This means 64 per cent of the Rs 10,990 crore collected by the PM CARES Fund between March 2020 to March 31, 2021 remained unused.
Also the audit report that was published in response to the RTI shows that over Rs 7,183 crore was received as “voluntary contributions”.
More than Rs 494 crore was received from foreign contributors. As per the reply, while Rs 1311 crore was spent on “Made in India” ventilators for government hospitals across the country, Rs 1,000 crore was allotted to states for migrant workers’ welfare schemes.
It is to be noted Hospital death audit report claimed that several ventilators obtained through the Fund were found faulty.
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/organizations and does not get any budgetary support”.
According to the audit statement, PM CARES Fund spent 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.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and several other opposition leaders have criticized the PM CARES Fund, claiming its contributions and expenses are not transparent.
The government has denied the charges. Sharing an TV media report, Rahul Gandhi said that the PM lied over the PM CARES Fund.
National medias had reported last year that several Chinese mobile making companies had donated to the Fund despite India facing incursions by the Chinese PLA.