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Jairam Ramesh questions use of PMCARES money

Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh  

Congress leader raises issues of help to migrant workers forced to walk home.

Two months after the PMCARES fund was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh raised a host of questions on the utility of such a fund when millions of migrant workers are still struggling to reach home.

How different is the PM CARES Fund from the PM’s National Relief Fund?

Quoting news reports, Mr. Ramesh said nearly ₹9,677 crore has been collected under the fund. And another ₹2,098.2 cr had been pledged to the fund as of last week. Of this, only ₹3,100 crore has been released. This at a time when millions of migrants are forced to walk home in the absence of assured transport. The workers were also being forced to pay exorbitant amount for tickets on special trains.

Meagre amount

“The ‘Modi Fund’ released only ₹1,000 cr for migrant workers 15 days ago. Why not more? Why the delay?” Mr. Ramesh questioned. Another ₹2,000 crore was spent on purchasing “Made-in-India” ventilators in Ahmedabad, which many news reports have claimed are not functioning properly, he said.

The Congress leader further asked why the “Modi Fund” was not used to procure sufficient Personal Protective Equipments when there have been desperate calls from doctors, nurses and other essential workers for it.

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“Testing is a key element of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Why is the ‘Modi Fund’ not being used to procure enough RT-PCR tests? Why cannot more tests be procured at scale to reduce costs & distribute them to the States?” he questioned.

Mr. Ramesh reiterated the question that the opposition has been asking on why was a new fund instituted when a PM National Relief Fund, Chief Minister Relief Funds and State Disaster Management Authority Funds existed. “Is it because none of them can be used for PR of PM?” he asked.

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

He said all of this shows that the “PM does not really care... In summary, the ‘PM CARES’ Fund aka ‘Modi Fund’ is ineffective, concentrates scarce resources, & is opaque. In a time of national crisis & distress where time & money are of essence, it is criminal to waste both,” Mr. Ramesh said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 9:12:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jairam-ramesh-questions-use-of-pmcares-money/article31696650.ece

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