PM Cares Fund in the face of controversy again. Is this fund a public or private trust? It has been called a government fund on behalf of the central government. However, it is recorded as a private trust in the documents of the fund. This inconsistency has again raised questions about the Narendra Modi government’s PM Care Fund.
The trust, which was originally set up to help victims of the Corona crisis, is registered with the Delhi Revenue Department. In it, the Prime Minister has been mentioned as the chairperson of the trust and the trustee of the top ministers of the Center.
However, the controversy has started recently after the trust’s documents were published on PM Cares’ website. The document does not mention it as a government trust. Point 5.3 of the trust deed states, ‘The control or ownership of this trust is not in the hands of the Central Government. It is not funded by the Center or any of its agencies. No state or central government has any direct or indirect control over it.
The Fund’s objectives include undertaking and supporting relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or upgradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support, according to its website.
On March 26 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up the PM Cares or Prime Minister’s Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund. The fund was set up to receive all kinds of assistance, including those affected by the onslaught. The next day, March 26, was registered. On the same day, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued an office memorandum. The fund was brought under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As a result, there are no restrictions on grants from corporates for funding. In a public interest case, social worker Anjali Bharadwaj brought up the issue by presenting several documents. According to the document, ‘this is a fund formed by the central government’.
However, the document states that it is not a government fund, As a result, it is eligible for corporate grants. This inconsistency has not come to light for a couple of months. Corporate grants have been deposited in the fund during that period. In August, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram criticized the Modi government over the discrepancy. His question was, if this fund is not formed by the central government, then why the Prime Minister and three ministers are trustees in it? Who chose them as trustees?
He further asked, “If it is called private fund, why is the grant coming under CSR?” The Modi government did not agree to respond to the public interest litigation in this regard. Why are grants coming under CSR? ‘
The Modi government did not agree to respond to the public interest litigation in this regard. Why are grants coming under CSR? ‘ The Modi government did not agree to respond to the public interest litigation in this regard.
Since the formation of PM Cares, the fund has faced multiple questions over allegations of corruption. The Modi government has also come under fire from the opposition over the amount of money in the fund or the sector in which it is being spent. However, the PM Cares Fund came under question again as soon as the controversy subsided.