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PM CARES: Petition questions use of national emblem for a non-govt entity

PM CARES: Petition questions use of national emblem for a non-govt entity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, (File photo)

New Delhi: The Central Ministry of Home Affairs has been moved with an application for sanction against the officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for illegal use of the National Emblem in Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM – CARES Fund) logo.

The application submitted by activist Saket Gokhale seeks for prosecution against the officials managing the fund under the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005.

The activist questions, how a private entity which has absolutely zero relationship with any Central or state government and nor has any constitutional obligation, could make use of the emblem.

Recently, several reports had revealed the contradictions in the constitution of the entity.

As per the Trust Deed, which was made public recently, for the PM CARES fund, it is not created under any constitutional provision, Parliamentary /Legislative Act or through any official Government notification in the Gazette of India.

The trust, registered with the revenue department of Delhi, is headed by the Prime Minister and senior ministers as trustees.

The PMO has so far maintained that the entity is a private entity, which makes it exempt from RTI scrutiny.

Prior to May 26, the Companies Act had it that, only the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund or any other fund set by the Central Government or the State governments for socio-economic development and relief and funds for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classed, minorities and women, are eligible for corporate donations.

However, when questions were raised on the eligibility of the PM -CARES Fund to receive CSR funds, the Corporate Affairs Ministry added PM-CARES Fund to Companies Act retrospectively from March 28.

Questions also also raised how could the entity use the public officials salaried by the taxpayers' money.

There is a lack of clarity about the nature of the PM CARES Fund that if the entity is public or private.

PM -CARES Fund has been constituted in March this year, to undertake and support relief or help of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress. The trust has so far collected 1.27 billion USD so far, according to Anoo Bhuyan, a health reporter of India Spends.

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