Monday, October 06, 2008

CM's Public Relief Fund

Thanks to RTI, the status of the Tamil Nadu CM's Public Relief Fund is now out in the open. I asked for the funds flow statement of the last 6 years of the CM's Public Relief Fund. And this statement is shown below.

All amounts given in crores of rupees.
Financial YearOpening BalanceFunds Received during the yearFunds spent
Any other outgo
Closing balance

This shows that about 157 crores were received during the Tsunami year (2004-2005). But this is greater than the sum of all the amounts spent in the following years for relief work which is 126.5 Cr (88.75+21.97+12.25+3.51). This shows that the funds received during the Tsunami period not yet been fully utlised. The difference is about 30 crores. But the point to note here is that all these 126.5 Cr has not been utilised for Tsunami relief. A lot of it would have gone for Tsunami, but there are amounts in it which have been given for other kind of relief like general medical and education help. This shatters that myth that the money donated to the government will be properly utilised.

In addition to this, I also obtained a list of Fixed Deposits that the CMPRF money has been invested in. This showed that 166 crores have been invested as Fixed Deposits. Thus this sets a lower bound on the amount lying unused in the CM's fund.

I am not claiming that funds have been misused but what I am trying to point out is the following two things.

1. A lot of money is lying unused in the fund. To understand why this is a lot of money. Consider these two facts. The amount is about 7-8 times the average annual spending of the last 6 years. Moreover, if you leave out the Tsunami year and the year following as "exceptionally high outgo" years, the average outgo for a normal financial year is just 6 crores. That would mean the unused amount is more than 25 times the normal average annual outgo, which is unacceptable.

Why is so much money lying unused? When I went for inspection of files of the fund, I saw that donations were made to construction of hospitals too. With that being the case, and assuming that there are not enough people applying for funds (which I really doubt), why cant the relief funds be used to good purposes like improving the Government Hospitals, which are in a terribly bad shape?

2. If funds received 4 years back that too obviously for Tsunami, has not yet been used, then in raises the question whether contributors would be happy with their money (which was donated for Tsunami) being used for other kinds of work (though that is also some kind of relief work).

Indian Express first took this up which was followed by Makkal TV covering it. The Indian Express article can be seen here.

The actual statements received from them and copies of media coverage can be seen here.

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