Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown in March to control Kovid-19. A few days later, on March 27, a fund was created. Named- PM Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM Cares) Fund. Also, whatever amount will be deposited in it will be spent on works related to Covid-19. Two days ago there was a big uproar in the Parliament also regarding this fund.
The opposition says that when there is already PM National Relief Fund, what was the need to create a separate fund? Why is it’s functioning being kept so secret? The case also went to the Supreme Court, but its identity remained there.
What is PM Cares Fund and what is the benefit of donation in it?
Keeping in mind the need for Dedicated National Fund to help people suffering from the Covid-19 epidemic, it has created a public charitable trust called 'Prime Minister's Civil Assistance and Relief Fund (PM Cares Fund) in emergency situations'.
Voluntary contributions are being taken from individuals/organizations in this fund. It does not receive any budgetary support. The amount donated to the PM-Cares Fund will get a 100% exemption from income tax. This relief will be available under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.
Donations to the PM-Cares Fund will also be counted as CSR expenses under the Companies Act, 2013. This fund is also exempted under FCRA. A separate account has been opened for receiving donations from abroad. This allows individuals and organizations based abroad to donate to the fund.
The effect of Modi's appeal was that people started putting money in the fund immediately. Many companies deposited one day salary of their employees in it, but at the same time, this fund started getting caught in controversies.
What is the objection regarding PM Cares fund?
Now Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had raised objections about the PM Cares fund. He said that when there is PMNRF, what is the need to create a new fund separately? Several Congress leaders, as well as the opposition, also raised questions on the issue.
Another major objection was that the expenses that would be incurred from the PM Cares Fund would not be accounted for. It was refused to be considered a public authority under the RTI Act. Some RTI activists asked for this information, but no information was given.
Another objection to the PM Cares fund was that it would not be audited. In the face of criticism, the PMO also appointed an auditor for the fund. Earlier a government committee opposed taking the CSR contribution to the fund. Such donations will give companies double tax exemption.
Why was there a controversy in Parliament over PM Cares Fund?
The taxation bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. It referred to the PM Cares Fund and was followed by members of Parliament who used words like a dacoit, Kal khokra, donkey and marauders for each other. There was an uproar for four hours.
In fact, during the discussion on the bill, all members of the opposition questioned the PM Cares fund. Shashi Tharoor, Kalyan Banerjee, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, Saugat Rai, accused it of not following the law in its formation. The opposition also questioned transparency.
On this, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said that the opposition is now behind the PM Cares Fund. Nehru created the Prime Minister's National Disaster Fund but did not register it. The entire fund was created to benefit the Nehru-Gandhi family. After this, the debate grew so much that Anurag even described Congress MPs as slaves of a family.
Did Sonia Gandhi really fix PMNRF's expenses?
During the debate in Parliament, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur alleged that the Congress President was also involved in deciding the expenses of PMNRF. Sonia Gandhi also had a role in it. The Congress objected to this and fiercely protested.
The truth is that when Nehru created this fund, his objective was to help those affected by the partition. Congress president was also kept in it. In 1985, this system changed and its authority completely came to the Prime Minister's Office. Congress president has no role in this. That is, Sonia Gandhi has never had a direct role.
What did the Supreme Court say in this case?
Amid the controversy over the PM Cares Fund, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no need to deposit its money in the Prime Minister's Disaster Relief Fund or NDRF. In this way, the PM Cares Fund got a different identity.
However, when the controversy escalated, questions were answered on the official website about the PM Cares Fund. It explained how much money has been collected and where it has been used.
It was reported on the website that Rs 3,076.62 crore was collected during 2019-20. A fund of 39.68 lakh rupees has also come from abroad. According to this, 50 thousand ventilators made in India from 2000 crores rupees were distributed in government hospitals. One thousand crore rupees were spent on migrant labourers. At the same time, 100 crore rupees were given to make the vaccine.