Published: 30th May 2020
Meet the Bengaluru student whose RTI revealed that PM CARES is not a public authority
The PM CARES fund was set up on March 28. The RTI was filed by an LLM student of Azim Premji University
he Prime Ministers' Office said that PM CARES fund is "not a public authority and does not fall under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act" while answering an RTI query. The RTI was filed by Harsha Kandukuri, an LLM student at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.
In his query, filed on April 1, Harsha sought the Public Information Officer to provide him the soft copies of the trust deed of the fund and all the government orders, notifications and circulations about its creation and operation. However, on May 29, the request was disposed of. The reply also says that "relevant information in respect of PM CARES duns may be seen on pmcares.gov.in."
"When we already have a Prime Ministers' Relief Fund, what was the whole point of creating the PM CARES Fund? Also, donations to PM CARES is permissible under CSR, but this doesn't apply to donations to the Chief Minister's relief funds," says Harsha. "I have a provision to file for an appeal and I am going forward with it now. I already have another appeal since the authorities did not respond to my queries within 30 days," he says.
The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created three days after the nationwide lockdown was imposed, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent behind its creation was to use the money to combat the pandemic and provide relief. The minimum amount that one can contribute to this fund is Rs 10. The fund had previously come under the scanner when the Comptroller and Auditor General of India was not allowed to audit the fund.