The Centre Wednesday gave details of how Rs 3,100 crore from the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund will be used in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
“PM CARES Fund Trust today decided to allocate Rs. 3100 Crore for fight against COVID-19. Out of Rs 3100 crore, a sum of approximately Rs.2000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, Rs. 1000 crores will be used for care of migrant labourers and Rs.100 crores will be given to support vaccine development,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office read.
The PM-CARES has the Prime Minister as chairperson, and the Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister and three trustees nominated by the Prime Minister “who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy”.
As many as “50, 000 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators will be purchased for Rs 2,000 crore from the fund and will be provided to government run COVID hospitals in all States and Union Territories. States and union territories will also be given a lumpsum assistance of total Rs 1000 Crore from PM CARES Fund for strengthening their efforts in providing accommodation facilities, making food arrangements, providing medical treatment and making transportation arrangements of the migrants,” said the statement.
An amount of Rs 100 crore will also be given from PM CARES Fund to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
PM-CARES, which was set up as a public charitable trust with the trust deed registered on March 27, is meant for 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”. The emphasis on ‘public health’ and ‘healthcare’ make it an appropriate vehicle to deal with the outbreak.
The government has also announced a Rs 20-lakh crore economic package to cushion the blows of the coronavirus-induced lockdown since March 25, in a bid to provide relief to the MSME sector, and real estate, while also extending deadline for filing income tax returns and reducing EPF contribution for business and workers for three months.