Set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to collect funds for fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, the PM CARES Fund received huge donations from several Chinese companies just ahead of the conflict at the LAC between China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian armed forces.
According to an analysis of news reports published in sections of the media, these donations range from Rs 1 crore to Rs 30 crore. For example, Tik Tok – a Chinese video-sharing social networking service that has been at the receiving end of the call to boycott Chinese goods and services – has donated Rs 30 crore to the PM CARES Fund.
Similarly, Xiaomi, a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer which commands nearly 29 percent of the Indian mobile market, donated Rs 10 crore to the fund.
A list of donations made by various Chinese companies to the PM CARES Fund is given below:
Tik Tok : Rs 30 crore
Xiaomi : Rs 10 crore
Huawei : Rs 7 crore
One Plus : Rs 1 crore
Oppo : Rs 1 crore
It is important to note here that as per media reports, PLA began to strengthen its positions along the LAC by digging bunkers and erecting concrete posts in Ladakh in April, around the same time when PM Modi announced the first phase of the lockdown.
Interestingly, Chinese tech giants decided to donate to the PM CARES Fund around the same time.
PM Modi set up PM CARES Fund in March 2020, with him as the chairman and the Minister of Home Affairs, the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister as ex-officio members of the trust.
Notably, with an aim to attract donations, the Modi government has also announced income tax exemptions to the donors under section 80 G of the Income-tax Act 1961.
Incidentally, there has been total opacity in the functioning and purpose of the PM CARES Fund, with the PMO refusing to divulging information about it under the RTI Act 2005.
“PM CARES Fund is not a Public Authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. However, relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be seen on the Website pmcares.gov.in,” the PMO replied tersely said in response to an RTI.
A petition has also been filed in Delhi High Court seeking to declare PM CARES Fund as a “public authority”. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for August 28.