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Should PM CARES Fund be scrutinized by the C&AG instead of independent auditors to ensure transparency and enhance its credibility? Critically Analyze. Viewpoints: Define the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations ...


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Should PM CARES Fund be scrutinized by the C&AG instead of independent auditors to ensure transparency and enhance its credibility? Critically Analyze.

 

Viewpoints:

  • Define the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) briefly.

  • Evaluate, why this Fund should not be under the ambit of C&AG?

  • Examine various provisions which support the auditing of C&AG.

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In March 2020, the PM CARES Fund was created by the Union Cabinet as a charitable trust under Registration Act 1908, to tackle the coronavirus crisis. The Prime Minister is the Fund’s chairperson and senior cabinet members are its trustees or members. This fund can be audited by independent auditors

Why should this Fund not be under the ambit of C&AG?

  • SC has declined the recent petition for auditing of C&AG.

  • It is a public trust which implies that the beneficiary is the general public and not specified individuals.

  • The fund is based on voluntary donations of individuals and organizations.

  • This fund is not a bar to contribute to NDRF.

  • It does not receive any budgetary support or any Government money.

Provisions which support the auditing of C&AG:

  • Contributions made by entities like the Indian railways, the armed forces, universities, PSUs and foreigners.

  • Public money was utilized for its advertisements and appeals for contributions.

  • Donations to it would receive 100% tax deduction.

  • It has been treated as Corporate Social Responsibility expenditure.

  • No access to Right to Information Act.

  • The Prime Minister has been the face of the fund which uses the state Emblem.

  • Fund is not an electoral bond or party fund.

  • The money was collected ostensibly, allegedly, presumably to serve a national purpose. 

Opposition parties have raised questions regarding the need of such a parallel fund to PMNRF. Thus scrutiny of CAG may be a right move to ensure transparency, enhance its credibility and prevent any further possible misuse.

 
 
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