New Delhi : In a bombshell revelation via RTI, it has now transpired the PM CARES fund, created specially for Covid mitigation purposes, never shelled out a single paisa for developing vaccines. The information from Union Health Ministry came by way of reply to RTI write send forth by activist Commodore Lokesh Batra. Back in 2020, when pandemic hit the country, the Prime Minister’s Office(PMO) via press release dated 13 May, said PM CARES will grant Rs 3100 crores for fighting Covid.
Of this, Rs 100 crores, overseen by the Principal Scientific Advisor, would be paid toward developing vaccine, the press note had said. Batra send the RTI query on 16th of July. At first the response was ambiguous. So he followed up with an appeal. After four months and several filings, the Union Health Ministry finally clarified there was no money given for development of vaccine.
With hoax now out, the Union Ministry claims PM CARES is not a public authority and hence not all details become revealed.
PM CARES was set up on 28 March, at a time when the country was locked down following failed attempt to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. Donations were invited from the public and the contributions would enjoy complete exemption from tax. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the trust and the Union Defence, Home and Finance minister are ex-officio trustees. Contributions including employee salaries funneled into the fund and after two months of the setting up PM CARES, the IndiaSpend website reported that over Rs 9000 crore had been deposited into the trust.