Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday lashed out at the "negative" campaigning in social media about the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) and said those who spread hate about the state are committing the most "heinous crime".
A campaign has been doing the rounds in social media, where videos and messages ask people not to donate to CMDRF, alleging that the funds will not be used for relief purposes.
Pinarayi Vijayan said "certain mischievous" elements in society had started the campaign against CMDRF after witnessing the huge support the state received through the government portal.
"Such hate campaigns are doing the rounds among people both inside and outside of the state. The government is taking a serious approach over such crimes," Mr Vijayan added.
"The CMDRF is an official platform. The funds coming to CMDRF can only be used for relief purposes. The fund is used for helping the poorest among the poor. Apart from donations, a portion of the state budget is also allocated for the CMDRF. All the allegations that the fund was being used for any other purpose is wrong," Mr Vijayan told reporters.
He urged the people to isolate those who spread false news at a time when the state was facing a calamity.
"Those who spread fake news and hatred against the state at a time when the state is facing a calamity are committing a heinous crime. I appeal to all media houses to curb and counter such false propaganda," he said.
The Chief Minister also praised media organisations for effectively disseminating information not only from government sources, but also on their own, to the people of the state.
CMDRF is operated by the Principal Secretary (Finance) of the Government and contributions to it are remitted to bank accounts maintained in the State Bank of India and the funds are released only through bank transfer.
The funds can be withdrawn only under the hand and seal of the Finance Secretary.
Though the fund is operated by the Finance Secretary, the CMDRF is administered by the Revenue department.
It means the Finance Secretary, who is authorised to operate the bank account of CMDRF, cannot withdraw or transfer the money at his or his department's wishes.
This is possible only as per a Government Order issued by the Revenue Secretary.
The financial delegation has been fixed by Government orders regulating 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.
CMDRF funds are open to audit by the Comptroller and Accountant General and the budgeting and expenditure is subject to scrutiny by the State Legislature.