What is fate of ‘PM Cares Fund’: Sawhney asks Govt

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 10: Former minister and senior Congress leader Yogesh Sawhney today posed various questions to the BJP Government on the secrecy and lack of transparency around the ‘PM Cares Fund’.
Amidst alarming growth of infections in J&K and across the country, India’s medical infrastructure has been struggling to keep up, which raises serious questions around the Modi Government’s COVID-19 fund started last year. He said that there has been zero accountability from this Government about the huge of amounts of money that have been pouring in to the fund since it’s inception.
“The Government must declare the total funding it has recieved since last year through the PMCares initiative otherwise it is no less than a scam. Although the Government has been smartly announcing huge projects from the fund like the installation of oxygen plants, hospital beds and infrastructure among other things, their implementation has been negligible. People of this country have the right to know about the fate of this Fund,” Sawhney asked BJP Govt.
The former minister said that the BJP has been circulating videos and fake news spreading false propaganda and unverified data pertaining to the fund. He questioned if the data remains to be true then why the  BJP Government has excluded the fund from the ambit of the RTI. Before broadcasting where they’re spending the money, they should let the public know about the total money that was collected by the fund. If the number is true why is the PMO not verifying the data being circulated around.
Cong leader said the details around the  implementation of PMCares funded projects has also many raised red flags. For instance, the delivery of almost 9,000  ventilators to be funded by the PMCares had been held up due to non-payment of dues by the government. It took the Government eight months to just invite bids for over 150 oxygen generation plants costing just Rs 200 crore.
He said hundreds of RTI queries were filed with PM Cares in the last one year, but PM office has not responded, claiming it is not a ‘public authority’. How much money did the Government receive and how much did it actually spend are still mysteries. “We live in a democracy and we should know where our money is being spent. Why haven’t the enormous funds to the PMCares translated into combating the virus effectively? The Government’s reluctance in giving out real numbers, lack of auditing, excluding it from the purview of RTI, not using the existing disaster management fund of the government, all indicate that the whole fund is a scam and if it is not, the Government needs to clarify, Sawhney added.