New Delhi, September 20: PM-CARES Fund was again part of the discourse in Parliament on Sunday, with Congress' Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raising questions before Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. The Congress MP asked Vardhan to specify what amount of funds were allocated to his Ministry and the state governments from the corpus. Anurag Thakur Apologises After Comparing Jawaharlal Nehru's PMNRF With PM-CARES.
"PM-CARES Fund was established for tackling COVID-19 pandemic. I ask the health minister - how much fund has been received by your ministry and state governments from PM-CARES Fund?" Chowdhury asked.
The Health Minister was quick to respond to his query, as he revealed the exact amount that was allocated to his Ministry from PM-CARES Fund. In his reply, Vardhan also revealed how the amount was utilised.
"My ministry got Rs 893.93 crores from PM-CARES Fund for 50,000 made-in-India ventilators," the Minister was reported as saying in the House, in response to the question raised by the Congress leader.
Update by ANI
My ministry got Rs 893.93 crores from PM-CARES Fund for 50,000 made in India ventilators: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in Lok Sabha during the discussion on COVID-19 pandemic https://t.co/07x1mKCMG6 pic.twitter.com/m8SCkaGWvj
— ANI (@ANI) September 20, 2020
The PM-CARES Fund was created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 28, as he appealed the nation to make generous donations to ramp up the government's fight against COVID-19. The Opposition, however, questioned its formation at a time when the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) already existed.
The Opposition has raised apprehensions over no leader from outside the government being included as the trustee of PM-CARES Fund. While the Prime Minister is chairman of the fund, its trustees include the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra, in an impassioned speech in the Lok Sabha on Saturday, claimed that 70 percent of the corpus is from 38 PSU donations.
"The PM Cares Fund diverts funds from local communities into this dark hole where not even a speck of light can enter. Coal India has committed Rs 221 crore to a fund, while it cannot contribute to the state relief funds of West Bengal and Jharkhand, where it has 90 per cent of its operations…it’s almost like the courtiers of the emperor are competing with each other to give gifts to the emperor with public funds," she said.