Kerala

#vaccinechallenge gives a fillip to CMDRF kitty

The sense of solidarity of Keralites in times of crises was on display on Friday as the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) witnessed a spike in donations from the public on Friday with celebrities too joining the cause to fund the State’s free COVID-19 vaccination efforts by displaying certificates of their donation in social media.

At 4.30 p.m on Friday, fuelled by #vaccinechallenge, the single day’s donations to the CMDRF stood at ₹1.15 crore from 5,106 individuals or groups, with the numbers shooting up every minute. On Thursday, the contributions stood at ₹51.9 lakh.

The CMDRF became a major platform of public expression of solidarity during the floods of 2018 and 2019. After the outbreak of the pandemic too, contributions happened in a big way. But, compared to the organic, people-generated campaign now, the previous ones were initiated after calls from the government.

Earlier in the day, filmmaker Aashiq Abu posted a certificate of his donation on his Facebook page, leading to responses from his fans, who posted certificates of their own donations. In another Facebook post, music composer Gopi Sundar posted his certificate and wrote, “This is not a show-off by any means, rather it’s an inspiration to help the needy people. ... Nothing is impossible when we are willing to stand for everyone”.

Making his contribution, actor Santhosh Keezhattoor wrote, “ ... Let us put aside all political differences and stand with the country. My mother and father have taken the vaccine. There are thousands of suffering people who also need to get the vaccine”.

A call for donations from vlogger Vinod Narayanan, who runs the popular page Ballatha Pahayan, also got a lot of response.

#vaccinechallenge was initiated organically by social media users in Kerala on Wednesday with many of them posting certificates of their contributions on the respective pages. Quite a few of them marked it as their protest against the vaccine policy of the Centre, which left the State governments, already in dire financial straits because of the pandemic, to shoulder the burden of vaccine costs, while some others said their contribution is a mark of appreciation to the State government for reiterating that the vaccine will be provided free of cost to all citizens.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan acknowledged the fresh contributions coming in from the public without any official calls from the government, during his press conference on Thursday.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:38:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/vaccinechallenge-gives-a-fillip-to-cmdrf-kitty/article34394239.ece

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