New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, or PM CARES Fund, received Rs 3,076 crore in donations within five days of its establishment, an official document read. The Audit statement which was made public dealt with donations between the time the fund was set up (March 27) and the closing of the accounting year (March 31).
The ‘receipts and payments account’ of PM CARES reveals that the fund was established with an initial amount of Rs 2.25 lakh and has received interest of about Rs 35 lakh. While Rs. 3,075.85 crore came from domestic sources, the remaining Rs. 39.67 lakh came from foreign voluntary donations.
However, the “accompanying notes 1 to 6” in the statement have not been made public. Thus, the sources of the funding, both Indian and international, are not revealed.
Congress leader P Chidambaram came down severely on the government for holding the names of the donors a secret. “The auditors of PM Cares Fund have confirmed that the fund received Rs 3,076 crore in just five days between March 26 and 31, 2020,” he tweeted, “But the names of these generous donors will not be revealed. Why? Every other NGO or trust is obliged to reveal the names of donors contributing more than a threshold amount. Why is the PM CARES Fund exempt from this obligation?”
Chidambaram said those receiving the funds and their trustees are known. “Why are the trustees afraid to reveal the names of the donors,” he asked.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are the first trustees of the fund, all in their ex-officio capacity. Three more trustees can be appointed by the Prime Minister, who is the chairperson.
On May 13, Rs 3,100 crore was allocated from the PM CARES Fund for the supply of 50,000 ‘Made in India’ ventilators to government hospitals for migrant labourers and for vaccine development. Earlier this month, the PMO had said the money has also been allocated to set up two 500-bed Covid-19 hospitals in Bihar.