Heated exchanges between Opposition and Treasury benches over PM-CARES

Monsoon session expected to continue as scheduled despite Ministers testing COVID-19 positive.
Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: MoS Finance, Anurag Thakur, responds to opposition queries on PM-CARES. He rubbishes the Opposition charges, saying they are against every move the government takes. “Your intentions are wrong,” he says. Opposition leaders raise objection.

He points out courts have disposed of all cases against PM-CARES. The courts have termed it valid as per Constitution. In April they approached the Court and were indulging in politics when the country was facing Covid crisis. Delhi High Court rejected their plea for RTI application to the fund. Contributions to the fund are not going to the government.

Speaker asks him to cut short his speech. You can raise it during the debate, he says.

Mr. Thakur trains his guns on PMNRF. He claims the trust was not even registered. He claims “the fund was only for the Gandhi family.”

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury objects naming the Gandhis. PM-CARES has taken donations from Chinese firms. This has to be probed, he says. Mr. Thakur accuses the Gandhis of mismanagement of funds.

Heated exchanges between Opposition and Treasury benches.

Row over PM-CARES
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduces The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020.

Shashi Tharoor, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and A.M. Arif oppose the Bill.

The Bill, replacing an ordinance, extends the deadline for paying taxes and duties in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bill also seeks to provide the same tax treatment to PM CARES Fund as available to Prime Minister National Relief Fund. Opposition MPs oppose this clause in the Bill. They question the need for a new fund, and why is it not being audited by CAG, if it is a public fund.

TMC Member Sougata Roy objects to introduction of the Bill, particularly the provision related to PM Cares Fund. The PM already has a national relief fund and PM relief fund for cancer fund, what is the need for new fund, there will be no audit by CAG of this fund. This fund be abolished and all the funds gathered be transferred to the PM national relief fund, he says.

Congress member Manish Tewari also opposes the Bill saying it does not propose procedural changes, but it has the effect of substantially amending eight different laws. He also objects to the provision pertaining to PM Cares Fund, since its name is attached to the institution of PM, it should rather be brought in through legislation.

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