THE government on Wednesday allocated Rs 1,000 crore for migrant labourers from the recently created Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations, or the PM CARES, Fund Trust.
An additional Rs 2,000 crore was allocated for buying ventilators and Rs 100 crore for vaccine development against the novel coronavirus. In a statement, the government said the money allotted will be used for “strengthening the existing measures being taken for the welfare of the migrants and poor”. It said “lumpsum assistance” will be given to states “to place it at the disposal of the District Collectors/Municipal Commissioners for strengthening their efforts in providing accommodation facilities, making food arrangements, providing medical treatment and making transportation arrangements (for) the migrants”.
Each state will get minimum 10% or Rs 100 crore from the sum allocated for migrants, with the additional grant to be decided on the basis of a state’s population (50% weightage) and the number of positive coronavirus cases it has (40% weightage).
The largest share, Rs 2,000 crore, will go into procuring 50,000 made-in-India ventilators, to be distributed to government-run hospitals across the country.
The efforts for vaccine development will be supervised by Principal Scientific Advisor Professor K VijayRaghavan. The government called finding a vaccine against coronavirus a pressing need and said, “Indian academia, start-ups and industry have come together in cutting-edge vaccine design and development”.
The PM CARES Fund Trust was created on March 27, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its head.
In its statement, the government mentioned that while announcing the package, “the Prime Minister has thanked all the donors for their generosity in contributing to the PM CARES Fund which will support India’s fight against Covid-19”.