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Questions over FCRA nod for PM CARES

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Questions over FCRA nod for PM CARES:


What’s the issue?

The PM CARES Fund has received an exemption from all provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

  • However, it is alleged that PM CARES does not meet the precondition of being a body established and owned by the government whose accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG).

What the rules say?

In July 2011, the Home Ministry issued an order exempting all bodies established by a Central or State Act which are required to have their accounts audited by the CAG.

  • Earlier this year, on January 30, 2020, it issued a fresh order superseding the previous one, “to exempt organisations (not being a political party), constituted or established by or under a Central Act or a State Act or by any administrative or executive order of the Central Government or any State Government and wholly owned by the respective Government and required to have their accounts compulsorily audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) or any of the agencies of the CAG”.

Why PM CARES Fund cannot be exempted?

  1. It was not set up through a Central or State Act.
  2. It has argued that it is not a public authority under RTI.
  3. The Fund is audited by an independent auditor, not by the CAG.

FCRA:

  • The FCRA is meant to regulate the acceptance and use of foreign contributions and to prevent their use for activities detrimental to national interest.
  • This includes gifts and monetary contributions from foreign sources, whether in Indian or foreign currency.
  • Organisations which wish to receive foreign donations must have a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme, and must register under the Act, and receive a clearance from the government.

Section 50 of the Act allows the Central government to issue orders exempting any organisation (apart from political parties) from the provisions of FCRA if it feels it necessary or expedient in public interest, subject to conditions specified in the order.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a public account?
  2. Who administers PM CARES fund?
  3. Which organisations are exempted from the ambit of RTI act?
  4. What is Consolidated fund of India?
  5. What is a charitable trust?
  6. Section 50 of FCRA is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss why PM CARES fund should be brought within the ambit of RTI act?

Sources: the Hindu.