Kerala, stranded by the devastations of relentless floods, has received a total amount of Rs 1,027.78 crore in the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) as of August 31. The list keeps updating from time to time.
According to the CMDRF website, Rs 145.88 crore has been received via electronic payments, Rs 46.04 crore via UPI/QR/VPA and Rs 835.86 crore via cash/cheque/RTGS. The electronic payments made through the website, from August 14, reached Rs 134.29 crore, with Rs 44.98 lakh on August 31 alone. The website has also listed out the banks through which the amount was received.
Several questions were raised regarding the credibility of using these funds received so far. To answer these questions, the website has a page stating the transparency rules.
As per the guidelines mentioned on the website, the funds can only be released through bank transfer and are operated by Manoj Joshi IAS, the Government Principal Secretary (Finance). Money is transferred to the end beneficiary through Direct Bank Transfer system.
The page reads, “Contributions to CMDRF is remitted to bank accounts maintained in State Bank of India, City main Branch, Trivandrum as well as pool accounts of various nationalised and scheduled banks and the funds are released only through bank transfer. The pool accounts have been created recently for the functioning of the online portal. The funds can be withdrawn only under the hand and seal of the Finance Secretary.”
Despite the Finance Secretary being authorised to operate the bank account of CMDRF, only the Revenue Secretary can issue orders to withdraw or transfer the amount, as per Government orders.
“Government Orders regulate the amount that can be sanctioned by the District Collector, Revenue Special Secretary, Revenue Secretary, Revenue Minister and the Chief Minister. Over and above, it rests with the Council of Ministers,” it adds.
Also, for those who want to understand every detail of the transfer, can file a Right to Information Act (RTI) to get all the information on CMDRF funds. These are open to audit by the Comptroller and Accountant General. The State Legislature is also responsible for the budgeting and expenditure of the funds.
Kerala witnessed the worst disaster of this century, as incessant rains led to the opening of many dams. Several lives and properties were destroyed in owing to this gruesome situation.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the Kerala Assembly on Thursday that the death toll from the floods stood at 483.