RBI, govt banks, LIC donated over ₹204 cr from staff salaries to PM CARES

The Prime Minister’s Office, which manages the fund, has refused to offer details of contributions, saying PM CARES is ‘not a public authority under RTI Act’

PM
PM CARES was set up on March 28 this year following the COVID outbreak and had a corpus of ₹3,076.62 crore by March 31 itself. Photo PTI File

At least seven public sector banks, seven other leading financial institutions and insurers, and the RBI, have together contributed ₹204.75 crore from their staff salaries to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund. This is in addition to contributions from Central educational institutions, RTI records show.

PM CARES was set up on March 28 this year following the COVID outbreak and had a corpus of ₹3,076.62 crore by March 31 itself, of which ₹3,075.85 crore were listed as “voluntary contributions”, according to its official website.

The records accessed by The Indian Express show Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and National Housing Bank also contributed over ₹144.5 crore separately from their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) allocation and other provisions.

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This takes the total contribution from the 15 government banks and institutions that responded to RTI queries from The Indian Express to ₹349.25 crore.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which manages the fund, has declined to furnish details of contributions received, saying that PM CARES is “not a public authority under the RTI Act”.

Topping the list of public sector banks and institutions that responded to RTI queries, LIC alone gave ₹113.63 crore to PM CARES under various categories: ₹8.64 crore from staff salaries, ₹100 crore under “Corporate Communication” and ₹5 crore under “Golden Jubilee Foundation”.

Records show that LIC’s contribution of ₹100 crore was made on March 31 — ₹ 5 crore, too, was donated in March but with no date specified in the response.

SBI topped the seven public banks that responded to RTI queries with a contribution of over ₹107.95 crore — the first tranche of ₹100 crore was paid on March 31. In its response, SBI, which is the largest banker in the country, stated that its entire contribution was from the employees’ salaries.

Banking regulator RBI stated that its ₹7.34 crore was from “contribution by employees”.

On August 19, the paper had reported that 38 PSUs used their CSR funds to together contribute over ₹2,105 crore. Five days ago, the paper reported that several Central educational institutions and regulators contributed ₹21.81 crore in the form of “voluntary contributions” from salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff, and from students and pensioners.

The Right to Information replies received from banks and financial institutions detailing their contributions from staff salaries and related benefits show:

* Canara Bank did not provide any detail other than to state that its ₹15.53 crore was the “total amount contributed”.

* Union Bank of India (₹14.81 crore): one-day Privilege Leave encashment of employees.

* Central Bank of India (₹11.89 crore): Two-day Privilege Leave encashment of employees.

* Bank of Maharashtra (₹5 crore): one-day salary and two-day leave encashment of employees.

* SIDBI, Small Industries Development Bank of India, (₹80 lakh): ‘Voluntary contribution from salary’ of employees.

* GIC (₹14.51 lakh): ‘One-day salary’ of employees.

* IRDAI, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, (₹16.08 lakh): ‘voluntary contribution’ by employees.

* NABARD, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, (₹9.04 crore): salaries of ‘employees and retired employees’.

* National Housing Bank (₹3.82 lakh): ‘Employee contribution”.

Apart from LIC, those who also contributed from sources other than staff salaries include: GIC with ₹22.8 crore from CSR; SIDBI with ₹14.2 crore from CSR; and, National Housing Bank with ₹2.5 crore from CSR.

The RTI queries were sent in August and the responses were received this month.

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