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Coronavirus: Independent auditors to audit PM-CARES Fund, foreign donations allowed

BusinessToday.In     April 13, 2020

PM-CARES Fund will be audited by an independent qualified set of auditors appointed by its trustees, including the prime minister. Besides, PM CARES Fund has also got exemption under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened, reported The Economic Times.

Since the launch of PM-CARES Fund, the government has failed to justify its virtues. According to the central government, PM-CARES Fund is expected to help health workers and millions of day labourers, whose lives have been devastated due to coronavirus pandemic. However, opposition parties and aid groups have expressed concern, saying the high-profile fund lacks transparency.

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Opposition parties have lamented that receipts of the donations were not available. Besides, the Congress party has also questioned why it was created and why it could not be merged with the older fund, the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund. PM Modi's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Some aid groups are also concerned that the PM-CARES Fund might divert resources away from grassroots humanitarian efforts.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Supreme Court will be hearing a PIL seeking quashing of the government's decision to set up the Fund. The PIL has sought a transfer of the donations received so far in the fund to the Consolidated Fund of India, besides a court-monitored SIT probe into the setting up of the fund.

On March 28, the Centre set up the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund. It is chaired by Modi and board members include the defence, finance, and home ministers. Several Bollywood actors, cricketers, and prominent businessmen have pledged to support Modi's fund. PM Modi has said the fund would benefit the "poorest of the poor" and strengthen disaster management.

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