As the title itself might make you understand, Prime Minister Modi has time and again proved how little PM actually ‘cares’. While the world suffered a grieving loss with the medium and poor class being the worst hit, the government of various countries have tried all they can to help those whose pockets are left with nothing but a hole. India’s economy right now is at the point of a standstill, the poor are left hanging while the middle class have consumed most of their savings. As a consequence of which the people would’ve expected relief packages and subsidised aids to help the poor and middle class draw out of the vicious cycle. But the government instead drove up a fund named PM CARES to receive donations from the people, to be used in emergency situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, back in March when the virus was at its full swing.
Now, here’s the catch. The Prime Minister’s interest in catchy acronyms took another form when he introduced the Prime Minister’s Citizen’s Assistance and Relief in Emergency situations i.e. PM CARES fun during the time of the pandemic, in addition to the already existing Prime Minister National relief funds, which was established back in 1948 and has long been in use for providing relief to the people who themselves or their family suffered loss during the time of natural calamities like earthquake, flood, or during times of riots, or any other major accidents. On similar lines, PM CARES was established to be apparently used in emergency situations and to allegedly ramp us health facilities, pharmaceutical provisions etc.
However, despite having a large amount of money of about Rs 2200 crore in the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund, which could be used in order to provide relief packages and aids to the people during the tough time, the Prime Minister announced the PM CARES relief fund specifically for the purpose of providing relief during emergencies, raising in about Rs 6500 crore, way more than what the government was able to induce back in National Relief fund during the 2014-15 or 2018-19 crisis. However, what should be bothering us here, along with the fact that there was already money for the relief fund, is the fact that the use of PM CARES fund, which was pledged solely for the purpose of emergency help, has been kept completely opaque from the people, unlike the nature of national relief fund. This means that the donations that people made to the government, for the people, aren’t even sure if they went or would go to the people. Not only that, unlike natures of usual National funds, the PM CARES fund had no representation from any other national party or state, leaving this ad-hoc arrangement solely in the purview of PM and the president, and ministers of Defence, Home and Finance. This is definitely worth questioning, especially when despite raising this considerable amount of money that came from small donations and contributions from a large number of citizens, the people haven’t received any actual relief fund or package from the government at a national level. The relief given by the government was in the form of piecemeal, making it completely inadequate to serve a large number of people. While huge claims and numbers ran coming down by the government, a fair overview of the package revealed how considerably small the fiscal contribution i.e. the government’s money is actually going in to revive the economy, most part being covered by the monetary side of the economic policies, which proved fairly ineffective during the course due to very obvious reasons.
While the other countries took the ‘whatever it takes’ philosophy to move forward, the government of India decided to take small careful steps. It is often talked about during times of emergencies that everybody becomes a Keynesian while being stuck in a foxhole. This means that government’s contribution for the revival of the economy, like the economist Keynes, favoured, significantly increases during times when there’s a well on one side and a pit on the other. And while all experts favoured forgetting about the deficit, especially while observing a slowdown as significant as India’s, the Modi-led NDA government dedicated an embarrassingly small fiscal amount, the aftermath of which the country witnessed in the next few months.
And while it is also claimed that the PM CARES fund was used for relevant purposes like facilitating research related to the COVID 19 and ramping up healthcare or pharmaceutical infrastructure, the nature of the fund makes it completely impossible for the public to actually trace any record of the fund’s utilisation. This action is actually absurd because people have the right to know and question the use of their money and the worst part about all this is the fact that the government still gets away with it- just because the media has decided not to show people the true facts and the opposition has rendered itself useless.
So, make no mistake, the motive of this article was not to aggressively complaint about the Modi-led NDA government’s economic policies but to point at the ineffectiveness, inadequacy and unfair nature of these policies. The media had in its hands the power to let people of the country know where their money, which is apparently untraceable by any sort, is going. It was the media’s job to aggressively make people aware how Modi government’s spending that contributes to a mere 0.8% of the GDP is incredibly inadequate in terMs of global contribution, available funds from PM CARES and Corporate social responsibility funds, and the country’s economic condition.
The path towards development doesn’t go through religious stronghold and political nationalism only, and the sooner the people realise this, the faster the government would be in the need to take accountability for its actions. So, it’s on you to prioritise what you deem more important.