It is not just big corporates, banks, or mere individuals but Indian armed forces, too, contributed generously to Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations or PM-CARES fund in a big way.
The Indian armed services donated more than Rs 200 crore to the PM-CARES Fund, revealed an RTI application by The Indian Express.
The daily said the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy provided information about the contribution under the RTI Act but the Indian Army did not.
As per the RTI responses, the IAF contributed a total of Rs 29.18 crore from April to October from a day's salary of their personnel. In April, the IAF contributed Rs 25.03 crore; in May Rs 75.24 lakh; in June Rs 1.08 crore; in July Rs 73.93 lakh; in August Rs 61.18 lakh; in September Rs 50.27 lakh, and in October Rs 46.70 lakh.
On the other hand, the Navy donated Rs 12.41 crore between April and October to PM-CARES "in respect of officers and sailors" and Rs 4.36 crore "in respect of civilian personnel" of the Navy.
The Indian Army did not respond to the RTI but its ADG PI (Additional Directorate General of Public Information) tweeted on May 15: "Indian Army personnel have voluntarily contributed Rs 157.71 Crores as one day salary for Apr 2020 towards Nation's fight against COVID-19 pandemic to PM CARES fund".
#HarKaamDeshKeNaam#IndianArmy personnel have voluntarily contributed Rs 157.71 Crores as one day salary for Apr 2020 towards #Nation’s fight against #COVID-19 pandemic to #PMCARES fund.#SayNo2Panic#SayYes2Precautions#MoDAgainstCoronapic.twitter.com/rJYTTNgeMM— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) May 15, 2020
Together, the three services have contributed Rs 203.67 crore from a day's salary of their personnel to the PM-CARES Fund.
Notably, on March 29, the Ministry of Defence had released an official statement saying: "Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved a proposal for the contribution of one day salary by the employees of the Ministry of Defence to the PM-CARES Fund to fight COVID-19 pandemic".
"It is estimated that around Rs 500 crore will be collectively provided by the Defence Ministry to the fund from various wings, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Defence PSUs, and others. The employees' contribution is voluntary and those desirous of opting out will be exempted," it said.
In the previous RTIs, it was discovered that seven public sector banks, seven other financial institutions, LIC and Reserve Bank of India, have together contributed Rs 204.75 crore from their staff salaries to the PM-CARES Fund.
Additionally, 38 PSUs used their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to together contribute over Rs 2,105 crore to the PM-CAREs. Educational institutions, like IITs, IIMs, and Navodaya schools have together contributed Rs 21.81 crore to the PM-CARES, the daily reported.
Established on March 27, 2020, PM CARES Fund intends to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The trust is headed by Prime Minister (ex-Officio) and other ex-officio Members of the trust are Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
The credibility of PM-CARES Fund has remained under the cloud since its launch. The country's opposition parties have attacked the Prime Minister and the Centre over the secretive nature of the fund. Yesterday, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala posed various questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the PM CARES Fund, including the receipt of donations to the fund through Indian embassies.