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Coronavirus: Govt to accept foreign contribution to PM-CARES fund

The source said PM-CARES was set up following requests from India and abroad from individuals and organisations willing to make contributions to support the government in its fight against COVID-19.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: April 2, 2020 7:49:33 am
pm cares fund, pm cares fund upi id, pm cares fund coronavirus, coronavirus funds, upi id, upi scam, how to use upi, what is upi id, upi id for pm fund In 2018, the government refused to accept foreign aid to flood-ravaged Kerala since it was following the disaster aid policy set in December 2004. (File Photo/Representational)

As the COVID-19 outbreak hits the economy, the government has decided to accept contributions from abroad, “irrespective of their nationalities”, to the newly-established Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund, sources said on Wednesday.

This would mean that foreign governments, NGOs, and nationals can now contribute to the Fund. This is a major policy change since New Delhi has not accepted foreign aid in the past 16 years since the then UPA government under Manmohan Singh decided to not accept aid from foreign sources.

Also Read | PM CARES FUND fake UPI id scam: Make sure you donate to the correct ID

Sources said this is an “unprecedented situation”. “So, the government took this decision”, the source said, adding that it was not “aid”. Sources also underlined that the foreign contribution is “only” applicable to the PM-CARES fund and not any other fund, like the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

The source said PM-CARES was set up following requests from India and abroad from individuals and organisations willing to make contributions to support the government in its fight against COVID-19. “In view of the interest expressed to contribute to the government’s efforts, as well as keeping in mind the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, contributions to the trust can be done by individuals and organisations, both in India and abroad,” the source said.

In 2018, the government refused to accept foreign aid to flood-ravaged Kerala since it was following the disaster aid policy set in December 2004.

After a tsunami hit India in December 2004, the government felt that it could cope up on its own. Since then, Delhi had followed the policy of not accepting aid from foreign governments.

PM-CARES, which was set up as a public charitable trust with the trust deed registered on March 27, is meant for supporting “relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or upgradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support”. The emphasis on ‘public health’ and ‘healthcare’ make it an appropriate vehicle to deal with the outbreak. The PM-CARES has the Prime Minister as chairperson, and the Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister and three trustees nominated by the Prime Minister “who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy”.

PM-CARES is different from PMNRF, which was created in 1948. It was founded against the backdrop of the situation arising out of Partition and was used for relief and rehabilitation of refugees from Pakistan who came to India. It was registered as a trust in 1973 with responsibilities of the trustees not clearly defined. The resources of PMNRF are now utilised primarily to provide relief to families of those killed in natural calamities. Donations to both funds can avail 100 per cent tax exemption.

(with inputs from Krishn Kaushik)

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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