It has come to light that only 15% of Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) remains as cash, even though it shows a balance of Rs 3,800 crore. This was revealed after a closer look at the details even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of another Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, or the PM CARES Fund.
In case of PMNRF, the cash available is only Rs 486.79 crore and an investment of Rs 250 crore in perpetual bonds sold by the Union Bank of India. The PMNRF also had about Rs 1,000 crore worth of bulk deposits with the bank, earning about 6 per cent as interest with one-year maturity, said an Economic Times article. Perpetual bonds are bonds with no maturity date and this means they are not redeemable. The government can only earn an interest on it forever.
A look at the 2018-19 balance sheet shows that Rs 1,301 crore has been given as state development loans, but the details of the states are not given. In 2018, Rs 2,750 crore was invested as fixed deposits with banks. It has also been mentioned in the balance sheet that fixed deposits and bonds have not been considered as cash.
With just 15% pf the PMNRF as cash, it beats the purpose of the fund, which is to help in case of emergency situations such as Covid-19, floods, earthquakes and cyclones. This capitalisation of PMNRF also bails out banks which need funds.
In 2017-18, Rs 180 crore was given to victims of natural calamities and communal clashes and in 2016-17, Rs 104 crore was given. But in 2018-19, no money was given to victims of either natural calamities or communal riots. Instead, Rs 160 crore was given as medical assistance to individuals and hospitals, though again details of the individuals or hospitals have not been shared.
Earlier, it was revealed that while the PMNRF gives a receipt to help with the Income Tax deduction claim, no proper receipt is given in the case of PM Cares. Gpay, Phonepe, SBI state that they cannot give a receipt as donations to it cannot be claimed as deduction.
It was also found that PM Cares is a Public Charitable Trust, where the Prime Minister is the Chairman & members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and the Finance Minister.