PM CARES fund corpus triples in FY 2020-21, disbursal rises to Rs 3,976-cr

New Delhi, 7 Feb: The PM CARES Fund, set up to deal with emergencies such as the Covid pandemic, saw its corpus grow nearly three-fold to Rs 10,990 crore in the 2020-21 fiscal, while the disbursal rose to Rs 3,976 crore, according to the latest audited statement.
The disbursal included Rs 1,000 crore for migrant welfare and over Rs 1,392 crore for procurement of Covid vaccine doses.
The fund recorded nearly Rs 494.91 crore as foreign contributions and over Rs 7,183 crore as voluntary contributions during the fiscal.
The overall contributions to the fund received in 2019-20 was Rs 3,076.62 crore which was collected in just five days of its formation on March 27, 2020, with an initial corpus of Rs 2.25 lakh.
According to details posted on the website of the ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)’, it consists “entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals/organisations and does not get any budgetary support”.
The government has used a part of the money to buy medical equipment, including ventilators, to boost the battle against the COVID-19 and has also provided relief to migrants.
Opposition parties have, however, criticised the PM CARES fund, claiming its contributions and expenses are not transparent, a charge denied by the government.
According to the latest audited statement, it disbursed Rs 1,311 crore for 50,000 made-in-India ventilators to government hospitals, Rs 50 crore for the establishment of two 500-beds Covid hospitals in Muzaffarpur and Patna, and 16 RT-PCR testing labs in nine states.
Further, Rs 201.58 crore was spent on oxygen plants at public health facilities, while Rs 20.4 crore was disbursed for the upgradation of labs working on Covid vaccines.
While Rs 1,000 crore was allotted to states and Union territories for the welfare of migrants, Rs 1,392.82 crore was spent on the procurement of 6.6 crore doses of Covid vaccines.
The fund also spent Rs 1.01 lakh as bank charges. The fund’s closing balance as of March 31, 2021, stood at Rs 7,013.99 crore, more than double of Rs 3,076.62 crore a year ago.
A total of Rs 10,990.17 crore was received during the 2020-21 fiscal, including through interest income and refund of unspent balance from NDMA, while Rs 3,976.17 crore was dispersed during the period, according to the audited statement prepared by Chartered Accountants SARC and associates.
The fund was set up as a public charitable trust “keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected”.
PM CARES FUND had generated a lot of interest immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced its formation after the COVID-19 outbreak and appealed for donations, prompting several private firms, government bodies and individuals, including celebrities to donate money.
The fund’s objectives include undertaking and supporting relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or upgradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support, according to its website. (PTI)
While prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the PM CARES Fund, the ministers of defence, home affairs and Finance are its ex-officio trustees.
The chairperson of the fund has the power to nominate three trustees to the board of trustees, who can be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy. Also, any person appointed as a trustee will act in a pro bono capacity. (PTI)