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The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has refused to provide details about the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund.
Rejecting a Right to Information (RTI) application on the details of the PM CARES Fund, it stated that the fund is not a public authority under the Act.
Sri Harsha Kandukuri, a law student at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, had filed an RTI application on 1 April, asking the PMO for the fund's trust deed and all government orders, notifications and circulars pertaining to its creation and operation, reported The Hindu.
However, on not receiving any response, he reportedly filed an appeal to get a response on 29 May.
In its reply, the PMO told Kandukuri that the information cannot be revealed under the provisions of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. It also said that relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be found on the website.
Kandukuri said that the fund's name, the composition of the trust, usage of the emblem, government domain name signify that it is a public authority. Additionally, the Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the Trust having three cabinet ministers as ex-officio trustees.
"The composition of the trust is enough to show that Government exercises substantive control over the trust, making it a public authority," he added.
PM CARES Fund was set up on March 28 to accept donations and provide assistance to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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