NEW DELHI: In an oblique reference to historian Ram Guha raising questions about the need for setting up PM-CARES when an existing fund corpus, the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF), is lying unused, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday this was no time to “quibble over some issues” and emphasised that everyone must put up a united front rather than a divided one.
Guha was among some of the critics of the Union government who asked why the government had felt the need to set up a separate fund to fight Covid-19 when about Rs 3800 crore were lying unspent in the PMNRF. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury had also taken a jibe at PM Modi, saying even if the government had decided to set up a new fund corpus, it should have been called ‘India-CARES’ because everyone, regardless of political affiliation, was jointly fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Naidu on Tuesday lauded the efforts of the Union and state governments in the successful implementation of the first week of the 21-day lockdown. He also said that given the size of India’s population and health infrastructure, India’s success in fighting the coronavirus is key to the success of global movement against the virus. “Our spirited efforts are receiving global acknowledgement…There is no place for quibbling over some issues amidst such a massive national effort in this hour of crisis. Situation warrants that we present a united front instead of a divided one. I urge the intellectuals and others to hold back issues if any, till we overcome the crisis while exercising their right to seek answers. I call upon them to come forward with suggestions for effectively tackling the menace,” Naidu said.
The VP and Rajya Sabha chairman said industrial establishments and contractors must stand by their workforces and take a humanitarian approach to the prevailing crisis. He also said he had spoken to the minister of agriculture and farmers’ welfare regarding necessary interventions to bail out the farm community