News Excerpt
The Union finance minister said state governments should use district mineral foundation (DMF) funds for response and preparedness to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Pre-Connect
•    District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up as a non-profit body under Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, in those districts affected by the mining works, to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations.
•    It is funded through the contributions from miners.
•    The finance minister on March 26, 2020, unveiled measures in the wake of a nation-wide lockdown called for by the Union government to combat the pandemic.

Analytica
    The finance minister said DMF funds should be used to supplement and augment healthcare facilities, screening and testing requirements and any other resources that might be required.
    Augmenting healthcare services and delivery is already a high priority area with respect to DMF investments, according to DMF rules of all states. Already some states are using DMF funds to upgrade healthcare facilities over the last one year.
    If the funds were used properly after a need analysis to target delivery of services, districts would have been better prepared.
    Most districts received disaster relief funds, contribution from Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies and health department funds. These funds are sufficient for procuring screening kits, ventilators and other equipment.
    There is a risk that it becomes an easy go-to fund, even when other resources are available. It also helps the state abdicate responsibility in handling the situation and providing safety nets.
    DMF funds should be used sparingly and only for facilities and resources that can be counted as long-term assets to the district.DMF funds should be used only after other existing fund sources and state support is accounted for.

Way Forward
A separate emergency fund should be set up for calamities.The Centre for Science and Environment had earlier proposed setting aside 10 per cent of the fund for “future use”, in times of calamities or disasters.


South Korean Model
    South Korea has done exceptionally well to control the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
    It has implemented T3 i.e. Trace, Test and Treat, and has conducted more diagnostic tests than any other country (around 10,000 per day). This has helped them detect patients early and tackle the spread of Covid-19.
    South Korea deployed a central tracking appthat publicly informs citizens of known cases within 100 metres of where they are.
    South Korean began developing and stockpiling test kits well before the country had its first outbreak as soon as Chinese scientists published the COVID-19 virus' genetic sequence.
    The government used their experience of fighting MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) five years ago.
    Unlike other countries, there was no lockdown in South


PEPPER IT WITH
Pradhan Mantri KhanijKhestra Kalyan Yojana, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015