Rs 3,100 crore from the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations or PM-CARES Fund will be allocated to counter the coronavirus crisis, the government announced on Wednesday.
“Out of Rs 3,100 crore, a sum of approximately Rs 2,000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, Rs 1,000 crore will be used for care of migrant labourers and Rs 100 crores will be given to support vaccine development,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said in a statement.
The PM CARES Fund, formed by the cabinet on March 27, is managed by a trust with PM Modi as its chairperson and senior cabinet members as trustees.
The fund, which accepts tax-free donations from individuals and corporates, has seen several high-profile contributions from almost all major industrial groups, movie stars and government departments.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, there have been several appeals from the Prime Minister, corporates and noted public figures to contribute to the fund. Employees of state-run companies have also been urged to donate to the fund.
However, opposition parties have raised questions about the necessity of the Fund when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) already exists since 1948.
Several Chief Ministers have also raised questions and doubts over the preference to the PM CARES fund over their state relief funds.
Amid increasing questions about transparency, the government has said the fund will be audited by “independent auditors who will be appointed by the trustees”.