Thursday, December 3, 2020
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Rahul’s written question on PM-CARES in LS gets a cryptic ‘No’ as answer from govt

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New Delhi: The Central government has replied a categorical “No”, to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s written question in Parliament today on the status of PM CARES vis-à-vis the RTI Act.

The MP had placed a question, saying:

“Whether it is a fact that according to the Ministry #PMCARES was set up on March 27, 2020 by the Central Government thus making it a public authority under the ambit of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, 2005 and if so, the details thereof.”

The answer that came from the government was “No”.

pm care

While the opposition has cried for accounts of PM CARES to be made public, and an open audit be allowed, and has also cried about the apparent opacity of the fund, the government has never been in a mood to reveal the inner workings of the fund.

There was a petition in the Supreme Court asking for money from the fund to be transferred to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), for use during this pandemic. On August 18, the top court rejected the appeal and ruled that funds from PM CARES need not be transferred. The court said that monies collected by the PM CARES fund are “entirely different” and are of charitable trusts. They need not be transferred to the NDRF.

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The court ruled that the government is free to transfer money to the disaster response fund if it feels it is appropriate to so do.

The issue had been swept under the carpet after this ruling, but Rahul brought it up again today and received this cryptic reply. The issue remains as opaque as ever.

– India Legal Bureau

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