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Delhi CM Relief Fund collected Rs 35 crore since beginning of pandemic but ‘NIL’ was utilised for COVID, RTI reveals

RTI activist Vivek Pandey had filed two RTIs on two different dates, both the time details on expenditure detail on COVID was unavailable

An RTI (Right To Information) application has revealed that Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government received almost Rs 35 crores under LG/CM Relief Fund from March 2020 to January 2021. The Kejriwal government spent over Rs 17 crores from the amount. However, it failed to provide information on funds it spent to control the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 to January 2021. It has to be noted that the Delhi Government has been accusing the central government of the surge and mismanagement of pandemic in the national capital.

Details of the RTI

RTI applications were filed by RTI activist Vivek Pandey. Speaking to OpIndia, Vivek informed that he filed two RTI applications with Delhi Government to get information on funds collected under CM/LG relief fund since March 2020 and how it was utilised.

He also asked the AAP-led Delhi Government if they had spent any money on controlling the Covid-19 pandemic during the period. The first RTI was filed in November 2020 and second was filed in February 2021.

Both RTIs had almost similar replies

Vivek shared the questions he had sent in both RTIs and screenshots of the replies he had received from the Delhi Government. In the first RTI application submitted on November 16, 2020, he asked the govt to provide details of the amount deposited in LG/CM relief funds from March 2020 till date. In the reply, it was mentioned that a total of Rs 34.69 crores were collected during that period.

RTI application by Vivek Pandey and reply by Delhi government in November 2020

On the question of how much the government had spent from the fund, it was mentioned that Rs 17.02 crores were spent to date. However, the government of Delhi was unable to provide the details of where they spent the money, stating the data was not finalized and reconciled yet. To the query on how much money was spent on Covid pandemic control, the reply came as NIL.

RTI application by Vivek Pandey and reply by Delhi government in February 2021

After waiting for three months, Vivek submitted another application hoping to get a better answer from Kejriwal’s Government. The only difference in the replies that Delhi Government provided was the difference in the amount they received (Rs 34.77 crores) and the amount they spent (Rs 17.27 crores). To the query, how much money they spend on Covid pandemic control was NIL.

Delhi Government should have used funds for preparations, said Vivek

Speaking to OpIndia, Vivek said that the Delhi Government had been consistently blaming the central government for the mismanagement of health infrastructure in the national capital amid a rising number of Covid cases. However, despite of having funds in hand, Kejriwal allegedly did nothing to control the pandemic. “He could have established oxygen plants or make some arrangements beforehand with the funds from CM Relief Fund,” said Vivek. Notably, Kejriwal Government tried to take credit for the relief work Central Government did after Delhi Government failed to manage the pandemic last year. Even during the second, they tried the same tactics but failed.

Out of proportion ad expenses of Delhi government

As per reports, Delhi Government has spent hundreds of crores on ads in print, television and online media in the last few months. With over Rs 150 crores spent just on ads in 2021, Delhi Government appears to have a different set of priorities. In March alone, the govt spent whooping Rs.92.48 crores on ads. A Twitter user said that he counted ads playing for 15 times within six hours on TV.

The covid situation in Delhi

On April 25, Delhi reported 22,933 new cases. So far, the state has recorded 10,27,715 Covid-19 cases, out of which 9,18,143 have recovered. There are 94,592 active cases in the state, and 14,248 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 related complications. 350 people died on April 25. The state has been reporting over a 30% positive rate from the last one week. There is also a consistent drop in the number of vaccinations administered in the state from the last two weeks. Since April 10, when the state had issued 1,05,918 vaccine shots, Delhi could not cross the 1 lakh/day mark. On some days, the state was struggling to administer even 50,000 shots. 

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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