The PM Modi has set up the fund to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in a very targeted way. That is the need of the hour instead of playing politics over it. In many ways, Modi’s PM CARES could be a more democratic and constitutional way of building a war chest for crisis situations like the present Coronavirus pandemic and for other exigencies in the future than the PMNRF was till date.
The PMNRF ( Prime Minister National Relief Fund ) is used to provide immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones, earthquakes, victims of major accidents and riots.
PM CARES, (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations) on the other hand, is a dedicated national fund to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like the Covid-19 outbreak.
The question in reference was raised by the Congress Party as to why the Modi Government is creating PM CARES ?
The main difference is that in the the committee of PMNRF, Congress president is ex officio permanent member but in PM CARES, congress president is not a member. Precisely this is the problem of the Congress. Why Congress ? Why not other Parties ? This all not sensible. Since PMNRF was created in 1948 much before the constitution and Parliament was in the existence, presence of Congress in the committee was logical. During all these years when congress was in power the congress president was ex officio member. Why ? Why not the leader of opposition party? Why not representation from other parties? Congress was silent. Modi has not nominated BJP president as member of the committee, even then congress is disturbed because Congress president will lose lime light.
The PM-CARES Fund may have up to 13 eminent experts, working pro bono, and can undertake relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other emergency, including the creation and upgradation of healthcare facilities
The registered trust deed, dated March 27, of PM-CARES Fund states that the prime minister as chairperson of the Trust will have the power to nominate three people to the board of trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy. The board of trustees also include the defence minister, home minister and finance minister in ex-officio capacity.
There is also a provision to set up an advisory board of not more than 10 persons — selected by the trustees from among the medical practitioners, healthcare professionals, academicians, economists and lawyers.
Congress should that at the time of crisis they should support the country by raising questions at this time of difficulties it is making itself irrelevant in the country.