The COVID19 pandemic has created a tense situation for the whole world. Both developed and developing countries are facing problems. The biggest problem during these testing times is the downfall in the economic growth. Also, it is important to take care of all the sections of the society. In such a condition, the Government of India tried to generate funds by starting the PM CARES Fund.
What is PM CARES Fund?
Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was formed by the Indian Government on 28 March 2020. It was created to provide financial assistance during the coronavirus outbreak. The fund is handled by Minister of Home Affairs- Amit Shah, Minister of Finance- Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of Defence- Rajnath Singh with PM Modi as its Chairman. Donations made under this fund before the end of June enjoy tax deductions under section 80G of The Income Tax Act,1961.
PM CARES Fund vs. PM National Relief Fund
Although both the funds are meant for emergency conditions in India. But they have some basic differences in them. The first basic difference is that PM Cares is for pandemic. And National Relief Fund is for natural disasters. The handling committee of PM CARES Fund has Prime Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister and Defence Minister. While the PM National Relief Fund has Prime Minister, Finance Minister, President of Indian National Congress, and representatives of commerce industry. Also, donations made under PM cares are considered as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Relief fund does not fall under CSR. Another important difference between the two is that the relief fund reveals the information of the donations made in a year. PM Cares fund does not perform any activity of that sort.
Use of PM CARES Fund
So far, the PM CARES Fund have received INR 9677.9 crore. INR 2098.2 crore and INR 7,855 crore have been additionally allocated to them from other government sources. In May, the government announced that 32% of the collected funds have been allocated for COVID19. This money was used in buying ventilators, supporting migrant workers, and for funding a COVID-19 vaccine. Many actors, businessmen, common men have donated money in this fund. Government employees have donated their one-day salary to the fund. Collectively, they have made a donation of INR 4308.3 crore. Also, they are going to donate their one-day salary every month till March 2021.
Row over PM Cares
Lately, PM CARES Fund remained in news when people questioned about where the fund is being spent. An RTI application was filed to seek information regarding the fund. On which the Prime Minister’s Officer refused to do so. They say that PM CARES is not a public authority. Challenging this a plea was filed in court, asking to consider PM CARES Fund under RTI. And provide information related to it to the public. The court on the hearing dismissed the plea. After that, this issue was taken to social media. This issue trended there. Users expressed their views in favor of and against this issue.
Is it serving its purpose?
This fund was started by the government to provide relief to the public during the pandemic. But so far, the question remains that whether it has served its purpose or not. Even after allocation of funds for different purposes. States are still asking for financial help from the central government. Migrant workers are still seeking a way to reach their homes. Delhi and Bihar are still having arguments over the payment of Shramik Special trains. The need of the hour is to control the spread of the virus. The Government has taken steps to do the same. And it will be doing so. The main aim should be to use these funds for the needy. This how the purpose for creating this fund would be fully served.
Author: Anjali Datt
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