Be more transparent about the PM-Cares fund
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the government created the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-Cares) Fund. While questions have been asked about its need when the PM’s National Relief Fund already exists, the government is entitled to come up with institutional innovations for special situations.
The PM-Cares fund has received substantial contributions. There has, however, been a lack of transparency. The government has not made public the amount of donation received by the fund. It has also not yet outlined the composition of the board of trustees, which, besides the PM and three top ministers (defence, home and finance), is meant to include three eminent persons. The government has also not clarified if the fund is already being used, and if so, for what purpose. This is surprising because it is clear that India is under great fiscal stress, and the objectives of the fund include “creation and upgradation of health care or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research and other types of support”. They also include rendering financial assistance, providing grants of payments of money and taking “any such steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees” for the affected population. India responded to the PM’s call for support to the fund. It is now the government’s turn to tell citizens what is being done with it.