Coronavirus | India welcomes foreign contributions to PM-CARES


The Hindu

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Individuals and organisations can pitch in.

India welcomes foreign contributions to the PM-CARES fund to fight the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, a source said here on Wednesday.

The official highlighted the shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment for medical professionals, which needs to be addressed urgently.
“The pandemic is unprecedented. In view of this, India has taken a decision to accept foreign contributions to the PM-CARES fund,” said a source, elaborating on India’s plans to deal with the crisis.

The PM-CARES fund, a public charitable trust, was set up in response to the emerging requirement for resources to defeat the infection. “Contributions to the trust can be made by individuals and organisations, both in India and abroad,” said the source familiar with India’s plans to deal with the crisis.

The official described the shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment as “acute”, which prompted Indian diplomatic teams to look for reliable supplies from different parts of the world. “We are working with our ambassadors to deal with the huge shortage of ventilators and other equipment,” the official said. The issue of shortage also featured at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video discussion with 130 Indian envoys on March 30.
The official pointed out that a bulk of the equipment and relief materials are flowing in through independent organisations as special contributions, while the government is purchasing the items that are in short supply in the Indian health care sector.

The issue of the short supply of essential items made the headlines after nurses and doctors sent video messages to Mr. Modi, urging for lifesaving devices. However, at the last weekend, Serbia purchased medical items from India, prompting a debate. The official, however, clarified that the supplies to the Serbian government did not include the prohibited items.
Along with the other countries of the SAARC region, India has set up the SAARC-COVID-19 Emergency Fund for helping the front-line health workers with the personal protective equipment. Mr. Modi took up similar issues and urged for a global approach at a videoconference with G20 leaders.

The official indicated that India would be open to having the issue discussed at the United Nations Security Council. “However, it is a matter to be taken up by the members of the Security Council,” he said.
The Ministry of External Affairs has set up a dedicated wing for communications with the Indians abroad, many of whom are eager to return home. The wing has so far received 3,300 phone calls and 2,500 emails.

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