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TMC leaders slam Modi for ‘hiding’ PM CARES details

“Apart from this, thousands of crores poured into the fund from the private players and the educational institutes and 38 PSUs and other several private players used their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to contribute over Rs 2,105 crore to the fund. The CSR funds are meant for cash-strapped NGOs,”

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP and party’s national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set up the PM CARES in March 2020 to mitigate the consequences of untold disasters but since its
inception, the fund has been marred by controversies as India already had a similar fund since 1948-the PM National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

“To fleshen up the PM CARES fund, donations were mandatorily cut from the government officials’ salaries. Nearly 50 departments under the Centre have contributed Rs 157.23 crore from staff salaries to the fund. Topping the list with Rs 146.72 crore was the Indian Railways,” said Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Trinamul’s Rajya Sabha chief whip and member of the Upper House of Parliament.

“Apart from this, thousands of crores poured into the fund from the private players and the educational institutes and 38 PSUs and other several private players used their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to contribute over Rs 2,105 crore to the fund. The CSR funds are meant for cash-strapped NGOs,” said O’Brien.

“Even after taking in huge donations from the public money, on Wednesday, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that the PM CARES fund can neither be listed as “the state” nor a “public authority” under the Right to Information Act. Earlier, the PMO had also refused to disclose the total amount collected in the fund and said that the fund was not a Public Authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act,” said Roy.

“What is this compulsion to hide the amount of public money donated in a fund for the people?” he asked. “With a fund that has no members from the opposition parties, is the BJP planning to use it for the party?” O’Brien asked.

Sushmita Deb, who is in charge of Tripura Trinamul Congress stated public money should be accounted for, demanding transparency. She asked, “Would the Prime Minister of this country care to answer one simple questions that all of India is asking today: who owns the PM CARES fund?”