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Opinion

Be more transparent about the PM-Cares background – editorials

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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the government created the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-Cares). While questions have been raised about their need when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund already exists, the government has the right to come up with institutional innovations for special situations.

The PM-Cares fund has received substantial contributions. However, there has been a lack of transparency. The government has not released the amount of donation received by the fund. Nor has it yet outlined the composition of the board of trustees, which, in addition to the prime minister and three main ministers (defense, home and finance), must include three eminent persons. The government has also not clarified whether 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 fund’s goals include “creating and improving healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, relevant research funding, and other types of support.” They also include the provision of financial assistance, the granting of money payments, and the adoption of “any measure that the Board of Trustees deems necessary” for the affected population. India responded to the Prime Minister’s call for support for the fund. Now it is the government’s turn to tell citizens what is being done with it.

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