PM CARES Fund: Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situation Fund

PM CARES Fund – Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation Fund was created on March 28th, 2020. The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund popularly known as PM-CARES Fund has been established by the government to address any emergency or distress scenario, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Fund was established as a result of several demands from the public to assist the administration in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency. Candidates can know detailed information about the PM CARES Fund on the Official Website (pmindia.gov.in).

PM CARES fund is covered under the PM Schemes which is an important static GK topic with regards to UPSC or any other competitive examination. For information on various Static GK check the article linked here.

Candidates preparing for various government exams can find more information about IAS Exam, by visiting the linked article.

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About PM CARES Fund

  • With the Prime Minister serving as its Chairman, the Fund is a public charitable trust
  • The ministers of defence, home affairs, and finance are additional members. 
  • As a result of the Fund’s ability to accept micro-donations, many people will be able to make donations in even the smallest amounts. 
  • The Fund will enhance capabilities for disaster management and promote research on citizen protection.
What is a Public Trust?

According to section 3 of the Indian Trust Act of 1882, a trust is the transfer of property from one person (the settlor) to another (the trustee), who controls the property for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).

In India, there are two different kinds of trusts: private trusts and public trusts.

  • The Indian Trusts Act of 1882 regulates private trusts.
  • Charitable and religious trusts, as well as public trusts, are governed by laws such as the Charitable and Religious Trust Act of 1920, the Religious Endowments Act of 1863, the Charitable Endowments Act of 1890, and the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950.
  • As stated in Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act, “charitable purpose” includes providing assistance to the impoverished by any means, including education, medical care, or other objects of public value.

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PM CARES Fund Objectives

Keeping in mind the need to provide relief to the affected in emergent situations of Coronavirus COVID-19, a public charitable trust under the name of PM CARES Fund has been set up. The PM CARES is a dedicated national fund created to combat dreadful contingencies like the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The primary objective of this fund is to deal with forthcoming emergencies or distress situations.

Objectives of PM CARES Fund:

  • To undertake and support 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 upkeep of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support.
  • To render financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take such other steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population.
  • To undertake any other activity, which is not inconsistent with the above Objects.

Constitution of the PM CARES Trust

  • The Prime Minister of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund. The government of India, Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the PM CARES Fund.
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees i.e. the Prime Minister shall have the power to nominate 3 trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, science, health, social work, public administration law, and philanthropy. Any person appointed a Trustee shall act in a pro bono capacity.

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PM CARES Fund: Important Facts

The fund will be utilised in meeting the contingencies or emergency situation aroused in the country.

  • Voluntary Contribution: The fund does not get any budgetary support and consists entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals or organizations.
  • Donations to PM CARES Fund are Tax-Free: Donations to PM CARES Fund by the individuals would qualify for 100% tax exemption under 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 
  • Contribution to the PM-CARES Fund Qualifies as a CSR Expenditure: Donations to PM CARES Fund by the organisations would qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013.
    • In general, “Corporate Social Responsibility” can be understood as a corporate initiative to evaluate and accept responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and influence on social welfare.
    • According to the Companies Act of 2013, businesses must dedicate at least 2% of their annual earnings to CSR initiatives if they have a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore, a minimum annual revenue of Rs 1,000 crore, or a minimum net profit of Rs 5 crore.
  • Accepts donations from Foreign lands: A separate account for receiving donations from foreign countries has been opened. This enables PM CARES Fund to accept donations and contributions from individuals and organizations based in foreign countries. Foreign donations in the PM CARES Fund would also get exemption under the  Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). This is consistent with respect to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). PMNRF has also received foreign contributions as a public trust since 2011.

Like the PM CARES fund, there are various other PM schemes launched by the Government of India in order to address the social and economic welfare of the citizens of the nation. 

Get the List of Government Schemes – Comprehensive List in the linked article, which will help the aspirants to prepare for various competitive exams.

Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF): Other Similar Government Fundings

Not just the PM CARES Fund, there are other similar existing charitable trusts of the Indian Government like the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF). The details of PMNRF are highlighted below:

  • PMNRF was started in the year 1948 by Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • It was instituted to assist displaced persons from the neighbour country Pakistan.
  • The funds of PMNRF are now used to tackle natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, and cyclones. Also, to help the needy with major medical treatment like cancer, kidney transplantation, acid attack, etc.
  • The fund in the PMNRF are entirely voluntary contributions from the public like Individuals, Organizations,  Companies, Trusts, Institutions etc. and does not get any budgetary support.
  • Any disbursement from the PMNRF fund is made with the approval of the Prime Minister.
  • The fund’s corpus is also invested with approved commercial banks and other organisations in a variety of ways.
  • The PMNRF is recognised as a Trust under Income Tax and contributions towards it are notified for 100% deduction from taxable income under section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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Comparision of PM CARES Fund and other similar funds

  • The PM CARES Fund and the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) are governed by the central laws, while CM’s Relief Fund is regulated by the state authorities. 
  • Donations to the CM’s Relief Fund are not considered CSR, however contributions to the PM CARES Fund and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) are considered CSR expenditure.
  • Unlike the PM National Relief Fund, PM CARES, CM’s Relief Funds, and SDMAs are not dependent on donations.
  • A common corpus between the Center and States is used to fund SDMAs. 75% of the corpus is contributed by the Center.

For details related to the Difference between PMNRF and PM CARES, visit the linked article.

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Candidates can check in detail various other Government Schemes which will be helpful for UPSC aspirants and for the preparation of competitive exams.

Issues with PM-CARES Fund

The necessity of creating a new fund while PMNRF already exists has been questioned by a number of opposition leaders and other notable figures.

  • The PM CARES Fund was not established under the Indian Constitution or any other law, which raises concerns about the legitimacy of its usage of the title of Prime Minister, national symbols, the official PMO website (gov.in), tax exemptions through an ordinance, etc.
  • If the PM CARES Fund is not affiliated with the government, it may turn into a for-profit organisation and prevent the prime minister and the three ministers from holding their respective constitutional positions.
  • Neglection of other funds such as the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), etc.
  • The trust is not under the direction of either the central government or any state governments.
  • The trustees are required by Section 19 of the Indian Trusts Act to provide beneficiaries with information on the trust property, hence the PM CARES Fund must be available in accordance with Section 2(f) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  • It is not audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) because the money it collects does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India, raising questions about accountability and transparency. Critics also point out that contributors’ and beneficiaries’ names are kept a secret and that those holding audits are chosen by the trustees of the board.
  • In light of the government’s prior refusal of international donations to address internal crises, the decision to accept foreign donations for PM CARES has also drawn criticism from some sections.
  • Some critics also dispute whether proper procedures were followed when the trust was registered, such as exclusions obtained under the Income Tax Act and accepting foreign contributions under FCRA.
  • Additionally, detractors have emphasised that the trustees of PM-CARES have a fiduciary duty to the trust and the beneficiaries. According to the claim, the fund’s nature is incompatible with a public charitable trust.

All the news and information related to PM CARES and the COVID-19 pandemic forms a part of the Current Affairs section in the UPSC examination 2023. Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam can check the links given below –

List of Current Affairs Articles for UPSC

PM-CARES for Children Scheme

What is the PM CARES for Children Scheme?

  • The PM CARES for Children programme was introduced on May 29, 2021, with the intention of assisting children who had lost both biological parents, living parents, legal guardians, adoptive parents, or a single adoptive parent to Covid-19.
  • The goal is to provide children with complete care and protection over time, enable their welfare through health insurance, empower these children through education, and prepare them for financial independence when they reach the age of 23.
  • With orphans (10,094), children who had lost both parents (1,36,910) and abandoned children (488), there are a total of 1,47,492 youngsters in need of care and protection.
  • There are 76,508 boys, 70,980 girls, and four transgender youngsters among the 1,47,492 total children.

Features of the Scheme:

  • Education to the Children: 
      • The costs of younger children’s education are covered by their admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas and private schools up to the upper secondary level.
      • These kids are also given financial assistance for their higher education, either in the form of scholarships that cover their tuition costs or loans for their studies, with the PM-CARES fund covering the interest.
  • Corpus of Rs. 10 Lakh: 
  • Every one of these kids would receive a corpus from the PM CARES fund of Rs. 10 lakh under the scheme.
  • When the recipient reaches the age of 23, they will receive the corpus amount as a single lump sum for both personal and professional use. This corpus will be utilised to provide a monthly stipend beginning at age 18 for the following five years.
  • Medical Insurance:
  • Under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, every kid would be registered as a beneficiary with a health insurance benefit of Rs. 5 lakh.
    • PM-CARES will cover the cost of the premium until the kid turns 18.

To know more about the PM Schemes in India, visit the linked article and download the PM Schemes List PDF.

Other Government Schemes for Children during Covid

    • Manodarpan: It is designed to give kids, families, and teachers psychological support for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.
    • PM e-VIDYA: On May 17, 2020, a comprehensive programme known as PM e-VIDYA was launched as a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It integrates all activities connected to digital, online, and on-air education in order to offer multi-mode access to education. To safeguard children’s education during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was introduced as part of the One Nation One Digital Platform.
  • Bal Swaraj Covid-Care: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has created a tracking website for children in need of care and protection called Bal Swaraj (Covid-Care). This has been made with the intention of providing children who require care and protection with an online tracking and real-time digital monitoring system.

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Frequently Asked Questions about PM CARES Fund

Q1. What is the legal framework of PM CARES Fund?

Ans: PM CARES Fund has been registered as a Public Charitable Trust. The trust deed of PM CARES Fund has been registered under the Registration Act, 1908 in New Delhi on 27th March 2020.

Q2. How is the PM CARES Fund administered?

Ans: A Joint Secretary (Administration) in the PMO serves as the fund’s honorary secretary, and he or she is assisted on an honorary basis by an officer with the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary (Administration) in the PMO. The Prime Minister’s Office gives the Trustees the administrative and secretarial assistance they may need for the management and administration of the Trust.

Q3. What kinds of domestic contributions do PM CARES Fund accept?

Ans: The PM CARES Fund accepts voluntary contributions from people and groups as well as CSR contributions from businesses and PSUs (PSUs). Contributions coming from PSU budgetary sources are not, however, allowed.

Q4. What methods are available for domestic donations to the PM CARES Fund?

Ans: The following methods are available for contributions:
1. Online Banking (SBI and other commercial Banks)
2. Card payments include those made with SBI ATM/Debit Cards, other bank debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards, and foreign cards.
3. SBI Branch, NEFT/RTGS, and alternative payment methods
4. The specialised portal pmcares.gov.in, as well as the PMO portal pmindia.gov.in both, accept contributions online. Through the portals of the collecting banks, one can also donate.
5. Additionally, you can send a check or demand draught made out to “PM CARES Fund” together with the donor’s name, address, phone number, and email address to the Under Secretary (Funds), PMO, South Block, New Delhi, Pin -110011.

Q5. Who audits the PM CARES Fund?

Ans: An independent auditor conducts an audit of the PM CARES Fund. At their second meeting on April 23, 2020, the trustees of the fund voted to name M/s SARC & Associates, Chartered Accountants, New Delhi as the fund’s auditors for a period of three years.

Q6. Do online payments incur any transaction fees for contribution to PM CARES Fund?

Ans: There is no transaction charge levied by PM CARES Fund for online payment. However, some banks may levy the net-banking transaction charges, which may vary from bank to bank.

Q7. Does PM CARES Fund have a Permanent Account Number (PAN)?

Ans: Yes, AAETP3993P is the Permanent Account Number (PAN) assigned to the PM CARES Fund.

Q8. What is the statutory period by which the accounts should be audited?

Ans: Under the Income Tax Act, there is no set time limit for an audit of PM CARES. The audit, however, will take place after the conclusion of the fiscal year.

Q9. What is the PM CARES Fund?

Ans: PM CARES Fund is a public charitable trust. It was established with the primary goal of coping with any type of emergency or distress scenario, such as posed by the COVID-19 epidemic, and to provide aid to the affected, bearing in mind the need for having a dedicated fund.

Q10. Who are the PM CARES Fund Trustees?

Ans: The Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs, and Finance of the Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the PM CARES Fund, and the Prime Minister serves as its Chairperson (ex-officio).
The power to appoint three trustees to the Board of Trustees of the PM CARES Fund rests with the Prime Minister, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. These nominees must be distinguished individuals in the fields of philanthropy, law, public administration, research, health, and science. The PM CARES Fund’s Trustees all work on a volunteer basis.

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