One of the most visible ways of providing relief ever since the coronavirus hit has been the PM Cares Fund. It's probably the first result that shows up if you search for where to make a donation in the fight against the disease. But since the beginning, there have been severe doubts about its transparency.
According to Scroll, the PM's Office refused to provide details about the PM CARES Fund to a Right to Information applicant, claiming the fund is not a 'public authority' under the RTI Act.
In April, a Bengaluru law student had filed an RTI application seeking details about the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, which was made to fight the pandemic. The student had asked for copies of the fund’s trust deed and government orders related to its creation and functioning.
The PMO also claimed that relevant information in respect of the fund can be seen on the PM Cares website, however no such information is available there either.
The official response of the PMO to the RTI application was,
The PM CARES Fund is not a public authority under the ambit of section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.
However, the definition of the RTI act covers organisations financed by the government and non-governmental organisations.
The applicant will now be filing an appeal against the PMO’s refusal to provide information.