Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up. 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 at New Delhi on 27th March, 2020.
● Recently, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has said in a reply that PM CARES Fund is “not a public authority” under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. ● Section 2(h) of the Act defines a “public authority” as “any authority or body or institution of selfgovernment established or constituted — a. by or under the Constitution; b. by any other law made by Parliament; c. by any other law made by State Legislature; d. by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government — and includes any i. body owned, controlled, or substantially financed; ii. non‑Government Organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government. About PM-CARES • PM Modi announced the constitution of the PM's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund. • Mandate: This will be a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. • Administration: Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and its Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister. • Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G). • Donations to PM CARES Fund will also qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013 • PM CARES Fund has also got exemption under the FCRA and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened. 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. Foreign Contribution Accepted • Government has decided to accept contributions from abroad, “irrespective of their nationalities”, to the PM-CARES Fund. Thus, foreign governments, NGOs, and nationals can now contribute to the Fund. • The foreign contribution is “only” applicable to the PM-CARES fund and not any other fund, like the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. • This is a major policy change since India has not accepted foreign aid in the past 16 years when the then UPA government decided to not accept aid.