Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Column

Authenticity of PM CARES Fund and PMNRF

In this article, the author has explained the important aspects of the PM Cares Fund (Prime Minister National Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Funds) and PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund). 

By: Amrit Kaur, Second Year Student at RDVV , Jabalpur. 

Introduction

On 28th March, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement of a fundraising set up called the PM Cares Fund (Prime Minister National Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Funds) to accept donations and to provide assistance to fight against the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and to deal with adverse situations which occur in future. But certainly a question arises as to why to create a new fund structure while we already have few existing fund base to fulfill the same objectives such as Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF), Chief Minister Relief Fund, National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). So what is the need to create a new or a separate fund base? To answer this question we need to understand the working of the existing funds. 

PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund)

Description 

  • The PMNRF came into action in 1984, by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to collect contributions for assistance of displaced persons from Pakistan.
  • The fund presently works by providing assistance to the needy in inevitable situations such as war, natural calamity, medical treatment and acid attack victims, etc, and comprises of public contribution.
  • The fund is documented as a “Trust” under the Income Tax Act and is managed by the Prime minister or delegates.
  • Under Section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act contributions are notified 100% Deduction from taxable income and would be considered under CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).

Composition

Originally, it consisted of:

  •  Prime Minister and his Deputy
  •  Finance Minister
  •  Congress President
  • A representative of the Tata Trustees and an industry representative. 

After 1985, the sole discretion was given to the Prime Minister for dispersal and in the current scenario, a Joint Secretary in PMO manages the same.

PM CARES FUND (Prime Minister National Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Funds)

Description

  • Under the trust deed composed on 27th March, 2020, the PM Cares Fund was established as a Charitable Trust.
  • Its purpose is to provide support, assistance or relief for any kind of medical or health emergency or any natural or man-made calamity.
  • It includes assistance, up gradation and funding to any healthcare facilities, research centres, etc.
  • It is 100% deductible from taxable income. 
  • Accepts micro donations.

Composition

  • Prime minister as chairperson.
  • Home minister, Finance Minister, Defense Minister.
  • Three trustees nominated by the prime minister “who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy”.

Who Can Contribute

  • Foreign contributors
  • Individuals
  • Contributions made by companies and organizations are eligible to be counted under CSR funding.

The Legal Aspects of the Funds

As there has been such great support by the citizens by voluntarily donating amounts towards these funds. So, the issue of the right to know as to how and where the donated amount is being utilized by the government arises?

Transparency of funds

In Aseem Takyar v. Prime Minister National Relief Fund (1), an appeal was filed before the Delhi High Court contending that PMNRF being a ‘public authority’ must come under the jurisdiction of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

In Aseem Takyar v. Prime Minister National Relief Fund (1), an appeal was filed before the Delhi High Court contending that PMNRF being a ‘public authority’ must come under the jurisdiction of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The plea was accepted and an appeal was made. In the appeal, PMNRF contended that:

“It finds its genesis in a personal appeal made through a press note by then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. This, according to the Fund, was a personal appeal/request/decision and not an order/decision made by the Government of India. The Fund further contended that this appeal/request/decision was not a decision of the Central Government and was thus not made in the name of the Humble Governor General of India, the head of Central Executive…”

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed PMNRF to disclose information as a result of the Delhi High Court’s split opinion on the question of whether PMNRF is a public authority under the Act. The split opinion signifies that some judges of the Delhi High Court Bench held PMNRF as a public authority, whereas some judges held that PMNRF is not a public authority.

About PM Cares Fund

It has been stated by the PMO Office in a reply to a RTI appeal filed by a law student in which it is stated that-

“PM CARES Fund is not a Public Authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. However, relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be seen on the website pmcares.gov.in,”

“PM CARES Fund is not a Public Authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. However, relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be seen on the website pmcares.gov.in,”

Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act 

  • Under section 2(h) of the RTI Act, “Public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted—
  • by or under the Constitution
  • By any other law made by Parliament/State Legislature.
  • by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—
  • body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
  • Non-Government organizations substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government. 

Audit of PM Cares Fund and PMNRF

The audit of both the funds is not being done by CAG (Controller and Auditor General Office), instead the audit is done by a third party.

Points of Consideration

  • The contributions made towards the PM Cares Fund as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) would not be considered the same as when given in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
  • The funds already existing in PMNRF (Rs.3800crores) were not considered for use.
  • The PMNRF having a single party representative is leading to conflict (now under PM).
  • As salaries of the government employees are being deducted and are transferred into the PM Cares Fund, considering it to be voluntary transfers, but if the funds are not considered as “Public Authorities” then the admissibility of the funds raises a question.  

End Notes:

(1) Prime Minister’s National Relief … vs. Aseem Takyar, 2018 SCC OnLine Del9191

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages