Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in Lok Sabha on Saturday. [Photo/ LS TV]
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in Lok Sabha on Saturday. [Photo/ LS TV]

Lok Sabha witnesses clash between treasury benches, Congress members over PMNRF, PM CARES Fund

ANI | Updated: Sep 19, 2020 23:16 IST

New Delhi [India], September 19 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Thursday saw charges and counter-charges between the ruling BJP and Congress concerning PM CARES Fund and PM's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) during a debate on a bill that relaxes provisions of the specified Acts relating to direct taxes and indirect taxes due to impact of COVID-19.
The allegations were levelled by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also later asking questions from Congress. She also objected to "Himachal ka chokra" remark of Congress leader Ahdir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Both Chowdhury and Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi sought to target the government after Thakur alleged links of "one family" with several trusts.
Sitharman said that funds had been given from Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF).
"Congress has a laundry list of questions to answer. We raise questions on the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation because the Congress party's deeds demand the question," Sitharaman said while replying to debate on Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020.
The bill was later passed by the House. On Wednesday the House had witnessed four adjournments over Thakur's remarks during the introduction of the bill.
Sitharaman said Congress should not indulge "in rumour-mongering".
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said that questions that BJP members were asking about PMNRF should be asked about organisations seen close to the saffron party.
He also said that PMNRF had been used by the Modi government to provide relief to victims of calamities and now it is seeing the issue from political glasses as PM CARES Fund has been set up.
He claimed that Chinese companies had made contributions to PM CARES Fund, set up in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while Thakur also alleged that Rajiv Gandhi Foundation had received contributions from China.
Sitharaman said Companies Act did not prohibit the government from launching a new corpus for relief purposes.
"Questions have been raised as to why a second fund is needed. The Companies Bill was passed in 2013 during the UPA regime. In its original Schedule 7 Section 135 (IX), it was written that contribution can be made to the PMNRF or any other fund set up by the central government or the state governments for the socio-economic development and relief and funds for SC/ST, women etc," Sitharaman said.
"The visionary leadership of UPA had included these provisions and not us. Further, the UPA deleted the state government's funds in February 2014," she added.
Thakur said PM-CARES Fund has been registered under relevant provisions of law, unlike PMNRF which is still not registered.
He targeted Congress and said provisions of PMNRF provided that President of Indian National Congress will be its member. Thakur also took strong exception to "Himachal ka chokra" remarks about him. (ANI)