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Coronavirus | CPI(M) renews demand to make PM-CARES transparent

PM-CARES is now beyond the purview of the CAG.

PM-CARES is now beyond the purview of the CAG.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock

The CPI(M) has renewed its demand for making the PM-CARES fund, set up in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Prime Minister’s Office, transparent and accountable. The party said the money collected with the fund should be immediately transferred to State governments.

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The CPI(M) Polit Bureau, in a statement here, said the PMO’s “stubborn refusal” to disclose the details of the fund was deeply disturbing.

The fund doesn’t come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act because it has been set up as a private trust. But it has the Prime Minister as the Chair and Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs and Finance as trustees. For the same reason, it is beyond the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The CPI(M) pointed out that out of ₹10,000 crore collected under the fund, nearly ₹4,000 crore was collected by compulsory donations made by government employees. Two years of MPLAD funds had been diverted to this trust fund. The Companies Act, 2013 was amended to allow donations to this fund of a private trust to be eligible under Corporate Social Responsibility contributions.

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“Till date, there is no answer from the PMO as to why a separate private trust fund had to be created when the official PM’s National Relief Fund has been in existence since Independence, which is transparent, accountable and audited by the CAG,” it said.

Tax exemptions for donations to this fund had been provided.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:05:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-cpim-renews-demand-to-make-pm-cares-transparent/article32005992.ece

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