A day after the PM-CARES Fund trust announced Rs 1,000 crore for the migrants, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday, 14 May, said that the money will go directly to the state governments, and not in the hands of the migrant workers.

“The money will not be given to the migrant workers but to the state governments to meet the expenses of travel, accommodation, medicine and food for the migrant workers. But nothing will go to the hands of the migrant workers,” the Congress leader said.

PM-CARES Fund Trust allocated Rs 3,100 Crore for fight against COVID-19, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Wednesday.

“Out of Rs 3,100 crores, a sum of approximately Rs 2,000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, Rs 1,000 crores will be used for care of migrant labourers and Rs 100 crores will be given to support vaccine development,” the PMO said.

Chidambaram further said, “Let’s take a migrant worker who has crossed all hurdles and returned to his village. There are no jobs in the village. He has no work and no income. How will he survive and support his family?”

In its statement on Wednesday, PMO also said that to ramp up the health infrastructure, as much as 50,000 ‘Made in India’ ventilators will be purchased from PM-CARES fund at a cost of about Rs 2,000 crore.

Earlier, on Wednesday, Chidambaram, while addressing a press conference in Delhi, said, “There is nothing in what the FM said for the lakhs of poor, hungry and devastated migrant workers who have walked and many thousands are still walking back to their home states. This is a cruel blow dealt to those who toil every day."

The trust formed in March is headed by the prime minister. The other ex-officio members of the trust are the defence minister, the home minister, and the finance minister.

It is being led by the Modi-led government to facilitate donations from private individuals and corporate entities to tackle the coronavirus crisis despite the existence of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

(With inputs from IANS)

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