punching the PMRF

PMOThe headlines today declared alterations between the PMO and RTI with the bone of contention being the PMRF. Here is what I could gather.

The prime mister’s relief fund was set up by Pt.Jawaharlal Nehru in 1948 to assist people displaced from Pakistan. It is now used to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities life floods, cyclones and earthquake etc. Including victims of major road accidents and riots.

In some cases assistance for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplant, and cancer treatment is also done.

The fund is entirely made by public contributions and does not get any budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested with banks in fixed deposits. Disbursements are made with the approval of the prime minister. The statement of expenditure for last five years can be got at http://pmindia.gov.in/pmfunds.php

This handling of this fund is managed by the PMO and is treated as a private body answerable neither to the parliament of the people of the country. The PMO is very clear about the fund being collected from voluntary donations and the PAN is 64 yr. Old, yet there is no formal system to screen the lakhs of aids request it receives annually.

This was brought to light recently when the fund allotted Rs.50.000 to a boy for treating a heart condition this amount is definitely not sufficient for the same. The beneficiary, who was disappointed by the aid, got in touch with Ajay Kumar Goyal an advocate and RTI activist.  Who raised several questions about the sanctioning criteria of the PMRF. He inquired the authenticity in giving an aid, maybe because the family was below poverty line, but then why were they not directed to a free hospital?

The PMO refused to honour the RTI  saying Goyal was a third-party and not involved with the process.  There were also other unanswered queries likecitizen journalist

  • Criteria for grant allotment
  • Why is the system immune to parliamentary scrutiny
  • Why is it audited by an external auditor
  • Under what category does donation to the PMRF get  tax exemption

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