Unhealthy Secrets

Why the PM CARES fund must be investigated

While the PM CARES fund was supposed to ensure that the health system did not feel a shortage of ventilators and oxygen, it failed miserably in the face of the pandemic’s second wave. pti
31 August, 2021

AFTER PARTITION, 3.5 million Hindu and Sikh refugees came to India from West Pakistan. Several major cities, such as Amritsar, Jaipur, Ajmer, Alwar, Ludhiana, Jammu, Lucknow and Delhi, witnessed an influx of refugees. The Teen Murti residence of Jawaharlal Nehru—the prime minister of the interim Indian government—was also swarmed with refugees. The Kingsway Camp in the outskirts of Delhi, which had been reserved for the royal tents of the indigenous princes during the Delhi Durbar of 1911, now housed the tents of the refugees.

On 24 January 1948, the press information bureau issued a press note. “At no time has the necessity of giving relief to vast numbers of our suffering countrymen been so great and urgent as it is today,” Nehru said in the note. “I feel that it would be desirable to have a central relief fund which can be used for any type of emergency relief of distress but which must now be especially used for the relief and rehabilitation of refugees from Pakistan who have come to India. I’m, therefore, starting a fund called ‘The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ and I invite donations to this fund.”

Jawaharlal Nehru visits a refugee camp in Faridabad after Partition. The Prime Minister's National Relief Fund was started to fund relief work during emergency situations. wikimedia commons

As the note mentioned, the fund would be managed by a committee. But, in 1985, the committee formed to manage the PMNRF passed on all the rights to use this fund to the prime minister. Since then, the fund is used at the prime minister’s discretion. A joint secretary in the prime minister’s office helps the prime minister manage the fund.