States didn’t receive PM CARES fund for setting up Oxygen plants

Written by Vamc Vadranam

India: Many people across the country are turning to Twitter and other social media platforms posting SOS requests for beds, oxygen, plasma donors and Remdesivir drugs. A severe oxygen shortage has been reported across hospitals in New Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter urging the central govt. to provide oxygen to Delhi. The New Delhi govt. has also issued a list of hospitals facing shortage of oxygen supplies earlier. Kejriwal has also appealed to PM Modi during the chief minister’s meeting but received a flak from Modi for publicly broadcasting the meeting which is supposed to be a closed-door meeting.

The oxygen crisis was getting worse with hospitals taking to Twitter pleading the govt (Max / Fortis). to send oxygen supplies and threatening to stop new admissions of Covid-19 patients. In Nasik, Maharashtra, 24 Covid-19 patients died without oxygen as a valve malfunction led to disruption of oxygen to the patients on life support.

During this crisis, political enthusiasts on social media have started blaming their opponents for the shortage of oxygen supplies. Viral posts claiming that PM CARES money have been allocated to build oxygen plants in Maharashtra and Delhi but the govts have failed to do so.

Budding fake news peddler Kangana Ranaut took to Twitter said, “Kha gaye PMcares ka paisa and now asking for oxygen… Where’s the money gone ? Why these two characters(Arvind Kejriwal/Udhav Thackrey) did not build oxygen plants ? Why? We need answers and hisab of the money allocated to them ….” sharing a picture which says funds for 10 and 8 oxygen plants were allocated to Maharashtra and Delhi govts respectively but only 1 were built in each state. The same image was shared by several other social media users too. (Archive)

FactO Check:

A total of ₹201.58 crores from PM CARES have been allotted for the installation of 162 PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) medical oxygen generation plants to the CMSS, a central govt body in January. Central Medical Supply Store (CMSS) holds the responsibility for vendor selection, price fixage, and the output.  The Press Information Bureau (PIB) release and PMO‘s release tell the same. According to the release Maharashtra got 10 PSA plants and Delhi got 8.

  • The total project cost includes Rs.137.33 crores towards supply and commissioning of the plants and Management fee of Central Medical Supply Store (CMSS) and around Rs.64.25 crores towards Comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contract.
  • The procurement will be done by the Central Medical Supply Store (CMSS) – an autonomous body of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • A total of 162 plants with total capacity of 154.19 MT are to be installed in 32 States/UTs [Annexure-I].
  • The Govt. hospitals where these plants are to be installed have been identified in consultation with the States/UTs concerned.
  • The plants have a warranty for first 3 years. For the next 7 years, the project includes CAMC (Comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contract).
  • Routine O&M is to be done by the hospitals/States. After the CAMC period, entire O&M will be borne by the hospitals/States.
  • This mechanism will further strengthen public health system and enable long term systematic augmentation of medical oxygen availability in a cost effective manner. Adequate and uninterrupted supply of oxygen is an essential pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID -19, in addition to various other medical conditions where this need arises. Installation of PSA Oxygen Concentrator Plants in public health facilities is an important step to reduce the health facility’s dependence on the system of store and supply and to enable these facilities to have their own oxygen generation capacity. This will not only increase the total oxygen availability pool of the States/UTs, but also facilitate providing of oxygen support in timely manner to patients in these public health facilities.  (Copied from PIB)

From the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published list, as of April 18, 2021, out of the 162 sanctioned plants, only 33 were installed, with one in Delhi and one in Maharashtra, and plans to install 59 by the end of April and another 80 by the end of May 2021

According to a Fact check Published by The Centre did not allocate funds to states for the installation of oxygen plants in district hospitals. The Delhi govt. in a statement also said, “The plants were to be set up by Union Health Ministry through PM CARES fund, and not a single rupee was given to the state governments.” The AAP official also took to Twitter to share a fact-check report by Scroll regarding the same issue.

Conclusion: The Union Health Ministry through PM CARES fund is responsible for the installation of  PSA Oxygen plants and no money has been given to the states for setting up these plants. The state governments’ have nothing to do with the installation except to give the Central govt. a list of hospitals where the plants would be set up. So the claim that the Central govt. has allocated money to state govt to set up oxygen plants is false and misleading.

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About the author

Vamc Vadranam

Information & Communication Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, FactChecker, Coffee Lover, Continuous Learner.

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