Prof. Hemantkumar Shah
Right now in the context of corona virus, the Gujarat government is appealing to the people to donate to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and people are also giving generously to me. Relatively happy people, religious people, denominations, institutions and companies give money to this fund.
But some fundamental questions arise regarding the administration of this fund. There is a great deal of transparency and good governance, but this principle does not apply surprisingly to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund!
Here are some issues:
1 The fund was created in 1967. It is a private fund, not a government. It is administered by a five-member committee headed by the Chief Minister. The revenue department manages it.
2 Because of its name, people feel that it is a government fund. But it is not a government fund.
3 The income tax returns of this fund are not disclosed. They are not even represented in the legislature. A few years ago, when the application was made under the Right to Information Act, its information was not given, it was said that it was a private fund.
4 People have the right to know how much money was donated to the fund and when, for whom and for what purpose, but the government does not recognize that right.
5 The government will announce how much money is in the fund before now, giving a detailed account of last year and current year. Advertisements can be made to raise funds in the fund.
6 The Government should also disclose how the funds in the fund are planned to be used to prevent Corona disaster.
7 The government estimates the amount of money needed immediately. It also tells why it will be used. Only then will people ask for money.
8 Whenever a major disaster comes, the government collects and uses the funds in this fund, but never accounts for billions of rupees. This is a direct violation of the principles of good governance such as transparency and accountability
The author is a well known author, journalist, activist and economist of Gujarat.