Congress questions setting up of PM CARES Fund to deal with coronavirus

Shashi Tharoor  

Congress leaders on Monday questioned the setting up of PM CARES Fund to deal with the coronavirus pandemic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is already in existence.

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Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor on Twitter, commenting on another tweet about PM CARES, asked: “Why not simply rename PMNRF as PM-CARES, given the PM’s penchant for catchy acronyms, instead of creating a separate Public Charitable Trust whose rules & expenditure are totally opaque?”

“@PMOIndia you owe the country an explanation for this highly unusual step,” Mr. Tharoor added.

On March 28, the government had set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund) to deal with the unprecedented situation arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak where citizens can make voluntary contributions.

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However, some critics including Congress leaders pointed out that money was lying ‘unspent’ in the PMNRF.

“The PM’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) has an unspent balance of ₹3,800 crore [as of December 16, 2019]. Why couldn’t #COVID19 donations go to PMNRF? Why was PM CARE created? Why are PM & 3 ministers members of this trust without any opposition or civil society leaders?”asked Congress spokesperson Salman Soz.

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“The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established in January 1948 after PM Jawaharlal Nehru made an appeal to assist displaced persons from Pakistan. PMNRF belongs to the people of India. Who does PM CARES Fund belong to?” Mr. Soz added.

Noted historian Ram Chandra Guha too targeted the government over PM CARES Fund.

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“This is a very important thread. Why a new fund when a Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund already exists? And why the self-aggrandizing name, PM-CARES? Must a colossal national tragedy also be (mis)used to enhance the cult of personality?” asked Mr. Guha.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 4:41:09 AM |

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