RTIs Reveal PSUs Contributed Rs 2,105 Crores to PM-CARES, Most Dipped Into CSR Funds

The Indian Express had filed RTI queries on 55 PSUs' contributions to the PM-CARES fund and has, until August 13, received information from 38. 

New Delhi: As many as 38 public sector undertakings (PSUs) contributed in excess of Rs 2,105 crore to the PM-CARES fund, Right to Information queries filed by the Indian Express have revealed.

Some of the PSUs contributing significantly to PM-CARES include Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Airports Authority of India (AAI), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Oil India and Coal India. 

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has continued to deny information about the fund under the RTI Act arguing that the fund is ‘not a public authority’ and thus does not fall under the purview of the act. The Indian Express had filed RTI queries on 55 PSUs’ contributions to the PM-CARES fund and has, until August 13, received information from 38. 

Also read: PMO Blocks RTI Requests on PM-CARES Again, Says Responding Will ‘Divert Resources’

Among the PSUs, ONGC contributed the largest amount at Rs 300 crores. National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) contributed Rs 250 crores, while Indian Oil gave Rs 225 crores. Power Finance Corporation and Power Grid Corporation of India both contributed Rs 200 crores each.

Other PSUs that contributed in excess of Rs 100 crores were Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Coal India. 

According to Express, most of the PSUs contributed the amounts from unused allocations for corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the financial year 2019-20. 

Some even dipped into the 2020-21 CSR funds, even though the allocations were yet to be finalised. ONGC and HPCL acknowledged in their RTI responses that they have contributed sums from the 2020-21 CSR budget when the allocation for the year is ‘yet to be determined’. 

Also read: When Government Committee Said ‘No CSR’ for PM Relief Funds, Why the Sop for PM CARES?

The Power Finance Corporation went a step further in its contribution to the PM-CARES fund and gave away more than it has allocated for CSR for 2020-21. In its RTI response it said that it has allocated “on estimation basis” Rs 150.28 crore for 2020-21. However, its contribution to PM-CARES for 2020-21 stands at Rs 200 crore. 

Some PSUs used CSR funds of both FY ’19-’20 and ’20-’21 to contribute to PM-CARES. For instance, Oil India contributed Rs 13 crore for ’19-’20 and Rs 25 crore for ’20-’21. For ’19-’20, Rural Electrification Corporation contributed Rs 100 crore and Rs 50 crore for ’20-’21.