Public or private fund PM-CARES? The document reveals the contradiction

The trust deed made public now does not define PM-CARES as a government trust. (File)

New Delhi:

Is the PM-CARES fund set up for Covid a private or government trust? Although it has been defined as a government trust for corporate gifting purposes, a clause in the trust documents defines it as a private entity, which leaves it exempt from RTI control.

The PM-CARES fund was registered with the Delhi Revenue Department, with the Prime Minister as chairman of a trust. But the trust deed made public now does not define it as a government trust.

Section 5.3 of the Trust Deed says: “The trust is not intended to be or is in fact owned, controlled or substantially funded by any government or any government instrument. There is no control by either central government or any state government. , direct or indirect, in the functioning of the trust in any way. “

PM-CARES or the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Emergency Relief Fund was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March to “deal with emergency or emergency situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.” It is managed by a trust with PM Modi as president and senior cabinet members as administrators.

The trust was registered on March 27. The following day, March 28, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued a memorandum that qualifies PM-CARES as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative to receive corporate donations.

The Companies Act, which defines the activities eligible for corporate donations, reads: “Contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or any other fund established by the Central Government or State Governments for socio-economic development and relief and funds for welfare of programmed castes, programmed tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women. “

Documents consulted by activist Anjali Bhardwaj through an RTI query reveal that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, while issuing the Memorandum Office on March 28, called it a “fund established by the central government”.

But the trust deed from a day earlier said it was not government-run, so PM-CARES could not be eligible for corporate donations.

Almost two months later, on May 26, the Department of Corporate Affairs added the PM-CARES Fund to the Companies Act, in addition to the PM National Relief Fund, with retroactive effect from March 28.

This means that for two months PM-CARES was a private entity that received corporate donations.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a tweet on August 20 raised the question: “If the Fund is a private fund, why are donations to the fund counted against CSR?”

NDTV had filed a RTI application with the Prime Minister’s Office asking for the same deed of trust, but the request was rejected as the fund is not a public body.