After the COVID-19 declaration of pandemic and declaration of lockdown all over the country after which huge migrant workers problem came up. To deal with this problem PM Narendra Modi announced about a fund in 28th March “PM Cares Fund”—Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation Fund – which is a public charitable trust, this is a emergency fund which was made for assisting and providing relief to the corona virus affected patient.
The chairman of this fund is PM Narendra Modi as per Ex-officio capacity, and other members to this fund are the Home Minister, Finance Minister and Defense Minister. This fund accepts all kind of donations whether being voluntary or charitable, and these donations are exempted from Income Tax, and under companies act it can be counted against the company’s CSR, and the fund will be audited by independent auditors who will be appointed thorough trustees.
Was there any other similar fund with the same objective?
Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) — Established in 1948. It was created to provide immediate relief to the families of those killed in Natural Calamities, victims of major accident and riots, medical expenses for acid attack victims, and others, this fund also functions through public contribution and the disbursement of fund and distribution of money is done only after the approval by the Prime Minister.
RTI was also done about the Prime Minister National Relief Fund regarding whether it is a public authority or not but it is still pending, a fund if it is a public authority then all kinds of instruction regarding the same can be extracted by the general public about the allocation and distribution of fund, extraction of money etc. A suggestion was also made by Sonia Gandhi to transfer all the money of the PM fund to the Prime Minister National Relief Fund.
Huge controversies were coming up regarding the fact that when there were already various funds such as the PMNRF, each state has its own CM Relief Fund, National Disaster Relief Fund then what was the benefit of creating one more such fund.
There are various RTI’s made regarding the fact that how much money has been collected by the PM Cares Fund, where and how much money has been utilized. After which it was declared that it doesn’t comes under public authority, so no RTI regarding the same could be made. Information regarding the same can only be collected from pmcares.gov.in website.
Section 2(h) of the act defines for Public Authority as a body established by-
- The Constitution of India
- Law made by the Parliament
- Law made by the State Legislature.
- By notification or notice issued by the government.
So, only RTI can be done when it is a public authority. So when it was revealed that PM Cares where it has members like Prime Minister(ex officio capacity), Finance Minister, Defense Minister fund doesn’t comes under Public Authority created huge controversy amongst all the citizens.
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