Thirty eight public-sector undertakings have contributed around ₹2,105 crores towards the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), shows data collected through right to information queries (RTI) filed by the Indian Express (IE). Energy and power-related PSUs rule the roost, with oil and gas exploration company ONGC and power-generation company NTPC donating ₹300 crores and ₹250 crores respectively. The information also shows that many PSUs, such as ONGC and oil marketing company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (abbreviated HPCL, which is owned by ONGC) have dipped into their CSR (corporate social responsiblity) funds, which are yet to be earmarked for the ongoing financial year.
IE filed RTI queries with 55 PSUs, and received 38 responses, with the data pertaining to the period March 27 to August 13.
These numbers are significant, as the PM CARES fund has been facing flak for not being transparent about the true extent of the donations it has received since being established on March 27 this year. This leaves only estimates of the holistic and actual collection for the fund, with the Prime Minister's Office repeatedly mentioning that the fund does not fall under the purview of the RTI Act. This was once again shown in a response obtained by IE. When the fund was established, its also faced questions on doing so in the first place due to the presence of a pre-existing Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.
The fund shows through its website that it has collected ₹3,076.62 crores in 2019 - 2020 (a period of 5 days since its establishment). No donors have been identified. It has allocated ₹3,100 crores: ₹2,000 crores for 50,000 ventilators, ₹1,000 crores for the care of migrant labourers and ₹100 crores towards vaccine development. The allocation is not constrained to particular time period.
The contribution of these 38 PSUs can be seen below.
The RTI responses reveal that PSUs across the spectrum have dipped into the funds categorised as CSR to contributes to the PM CARES in various capacities.The website states that allocations made towards it can be classified as CSR contribution, with the fund also offering a 100% tax exemption to contributions.
ONGC has mentioned that it has offered funds from its CSR budget for this year, even though this allocation is "yet to be determined". HPCL has admitted to contributing ₹120 crores from its CSR budget for the ongoing financial year which is yet to be finalised.
Power Finance Corporation was one PSU that contributed more than its CSR allocation. While its contribution this financial year has been ₹200 crores towards the fund, its CSR budget estimate for the the ongoing year is just north of ₹150 crores.
Last (financial) year, the Airports Authority of India also contributed ₹15 crores from a CSR allocation of ₹83.79 crores.
Some PSUs have dipped into their CSR budgets across financial years: the ongoing and previous one.
OIL India Limited has contributed ₹13 crores in the previous financial year, and ₹25 crores in the ongoing one. Power Grid Corporation has contributed ₹70 crores last year, and ₹130 crores in the ongoing one. Rural Electrification Corporation has contributed ₹100 crores from its ₹156.68 crore contribution last year, and ₹50 crores from its allocation of ₹152 crores this year.
The RTI's also highlight some PSUs that have not been contributing due to losses.
One of them is BSNL, who admitted that "it has not earned net profit for the financial year 2015-16 to 2018-19. Accordingly, BSNL has not undertaken any CSR initiative from 2015-16 till date".
The Steel Authority of India has said its profits over the last 3 years has been nil, and that it has an allocation of ₹33 crores towards ongoing CSR activities.
IE's report can be read here.
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