BETWEEN 2006-07 and 2019-20, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) together declared foreign funds adding up to Rs 326.7 crore. Of this, Rs 316.23 crore (97 per cent) came from the Rural India Supporting Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (both US-based), and the Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India.
According to the RGF and RGCT’s declarations on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) website, the Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST) contributed a total of Rs 187.84 crore; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Rs 68.78 crore; and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) gave Rs 59.61 crore.
While the RGF received Rs 4.37 crore, the rest went to the RGCT.
The PHFI, founded in 2006, made the contributions between 2012-13 and 2016-17. Professor Dileep Mavalankar, vice-president, PHFI, and director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, said: “The fund was originally received from the Gates Foundation by PHFI in partnership with Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana. The RGCT declared it as foreign contribution under the FCRA rules as it was foreign contribution received by us.”
The PHFI’s FCRA licence was cancelled in April 2017. Last year, it got “prior permission” from the home ministry to receive “a specific amount from a specific donor for carrying out specific activities/projects.”
The RIST, established in 2007, is chaired by Indu Rawat (aka Mata Mangla), wife of Bhole Ji Maharaj (aka Mahipal Singh Rawat), who is the younger brother of BJP leader and Uttarakhand Minister Satpal Maharaj. The RIST made the contributions between 2011-12 and 2018-19.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000, made the contributions between 2012-13 and 2018-19.
The other foreign donors include the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi (Rs 90 lakh in 2006-07), European Union (Rs 3.84 lakh in 2006-07), the Ireland Embassy (Rs 3,000 in 2007-08), and the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (Rs 2.16 crore in 2013-14).
An analysis of the declarations shows that the RGF and RGCT received Rs 76.12 crore from abroad in the period between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2014. The corresponding amount for April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019 was Rs 250.56 crore. As per their quarterly declarations for 2019-20, only the RGCT got Rs 3.38 lakh from the University of East London.
Both the RGF, set up in 1991, and RGCT, established in 2002, are headed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
When contacted, Ajay Sharma, Deputy Director, Administration and Public Affairs, at RGF said: “I don’t want to say anything much. Our accounts are neat and clean. Everything is declared… The government action is a political agenda, nothing else.”
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