The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Life’s savings for nation in need

Some call him a patriot, others potty. But 45-year-old Kusal Chakraborti has done what comes naturally — made “The Consolidated Fund of India” his provident fund (PF) nominee.

The Central fund is directly under the control of the President and dipped into in times of “emergency for the citizens of India”, irrespective of caste and creed.

When Kusal, a bachelor, joined the Ballygunge branch of the State Bank of India in December 1980, he made it clear that he wanted to donate the money accumulated in his PF account to the Consolidated Fund.

“That is impossible. No one has ever done this,” said his colleagues, while his branch manager told him to drop the idea at once.

Kusal, who first hit upon the idea of transferring his PF savings to the President’s fund while working as an auditor in the provident fund section of the Office of the Accountant-General (AG) of Bengal, stuck to his nationalistic stand. His seniors told him that he could have his way if he could prove that it was legally permissible.

“I spent hours in the AG Bengal office, scanning files for a precedent. Luckily, I chanced upon records of a person in Bihar who, before his death, had donated his money to the Central fund, stating that every Indian is born with the burden of a foreign loan and that the money should be used for disposing of some part of the loan. This inspired me further,” says Kusal.

By then, news of Kusal’s decision had reached then PF commissioner Pabitra Gupta, who visited the Ballygunge branch to meet the person with the “strange idea.” Gupta clarified that if and when Kusal got married, the nomination could be changed to his wife’s name if she so wished. “I told the commissioner that I would abide by the rules,” says Kusal, an avid sports quizzer. On one occasion, Kusal had told the organisers of a sports quiz he had won that the four-days-and-three-nights stay at a Goa resort be cancelled and the money for the tour be distributed among poor children.

Kusal’s determination paid dividends when he received his first PF statement from the bank with ‘The Consolidated Fund of India’ in the nominee’s column. “I always wanted to do something for a secular India. This was one reason why I did not donate my money to any religious organisation. I know that after my death, the money will be used for the uplift of people, irrespective of caste and creed. That is my greatest satisfaction,” says Kusal. What if he ties the knot' “I haven’t decided on that yet,” he admits.

But the regional PF commissioner in Calcutta, A.N. Ray, when contacted, could not “recall” any such instance.

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