Amid the government’s fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, the BJP led the Central government has set up a relief fund ‘PM Cares’ and called out for public donation. The opposition party Indian National Congress has come out questioning the move as there was an already existing relief fund in the name of Prime Minister National Relief Fund.
The already limping economy of India has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic which has further dented it. The country is in a state of complete lockdown that has virtually put people out of jobs and others facing salary cuts. Apart from the economic measures taken by the government to provide relief to those that have been economically hit, there is a dire need for medical equipment and other aid required to fight the disease. The PM relief fund is aimed at fulfilling this.
Congress Criticises the Move
On Monday, Congress leaders criticized the move and questioned the setting up of PM Cares fund while there was a pre-existing fund having a similar agenda. Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor put out a tweet saying,
“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?”
Congress Spokesperson Salman Soz also took to twitter and said,
“The PM’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) has an unspent balance of ₹3,800 crores [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?”
A vocal critic of the government and a notable historian Ramchandra Guha also slammed the government accusing the Prime Minister of converting a national crisis into enhancing his personal cult.
Following the accusations, the government came out with a statement saying that while the Prime Minister National Relief Fund exists, the PM Cares fund is an exclusive fund only tackle the current crisis of the novel coronavirus. The Prime Minister National Relief Fund is for natural disasters, the statement said.
One can donate as low as Rs 10 towards the PM Cares fund that will be used directly to combat the emergencies the virus is going to pose at the nation.