He was responding to Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu‘s pleas to House members to allocate the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme funds to PM CARES fund.
“Creating the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund should not have been the priority when there exists the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF),” Ragesh said in a two-page letter.
Ragesh indicated that he has already allocated Rs 1 crore from his MPLAD funds to the Government Medical College, Pariyaram in Kannur.
“The college is handling COVID-19 patients from Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala,” he said.
The CPI (M) further pointed out PM CARES Fund has the PM and three other ministers as trustees and did not feature any member from the opposition parties or the civil society.
Ragesh further urged Naidu to ensure that the Centre increases its financial support to the cash-strapped state governments.
He further said that the under the given the federal principles of the Indian Constitution, the amounts collected through PM CARES fund should be transferred to the PMNRF.
“From there it should be transferred to the State governments for meeting the challenges of the pandemic and saving people’s lives,” he further said.