PM CARES Fund: A Lifeline in Crisis during Pandemic
By Prof. Jasim Mohammad
In March 2020, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a pioneering initiative known as the PM CARES Fund was established. This public charitable trust, overseen by the Prime Minister himself, emphasizes his commitment to providing assistance during emergencies, including natural disasters, epidemics, and man-made disasters.
The fund also embodies the spirit of unity, with esteemed members such as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Minister of Finance participating.
The PM CARES Fund sprang into action in response to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its primary mission was to bolster India’s medical facilities and pharmaceutical infrastructure, ensuring that critical support reached the most vulnerable during these trying times.
During the pandemic, the fund played a pivotal role in addressing the healthcare crisis. It facilitated the distribution of nearly 1 lakh oxygen concentrators and 50,000 ventilators to different states, greatly reinforcing public health infrastructure. Moreover, it secured over 6 crore Covid-19 vaccines and arranged 4,000 beds, a lifeline for those suffering from the virus.
One of the fund’s core objectives is to provide crucial funding for medical equipment, pharmaceutical drug processing, and support to common people facing medical emergencies, natural disasters, man-made crises, and epidemics. The fund is also responsible for the approval of financial assistance required to address these situations.
The PM CARES Fund operates on a unique principle, allowing both individuals and public and private organizations to contribute voluntarily for the greater good. Foreign contributions are also welcome, making it a global platform for compassion.
The fund’s credibility and efficiency lie in its ability to verify and authenticate requests for financial aid. The trustees oversee this process and disburse the funds where they are needed the most.
As of the latest audit report, the PM CARES Fund received donations amounting to Rs. 31,000 crores during the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of this substantial sum, Rs. 2,000 crores were allocated to government hospitals for the acquisition of ventilators and oxygen concentrators, while about Rs. 1,000 crore was dedicated to the welfare of migrant workers. The remainder was instrumental in supporting vaccine distribution and pharmaceutical facilities.
The PM CARES Fund thrives on voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations, receiving no budgetary support. This distinguishes it as a people-driven initiative, grounded in the collective effort to address crises.
Contributions to the PM CARES Fund come with significant benefits. Donors receive 80G tax benefits for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Also, these donations are recognized as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013, encouraging more corporate support.
The fund is also exempted under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), enabling it to receive contributions from foreign individuals and organizations. This aligns with the principles of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), which has been accepting foreign contributions as a public trust since 2011.
In the fiscal year 2020-21, the PM CARES Fund collected an impressive sum of Rs. 7013.99 Crore, reflecting the unwavering commitment of people to support their fellow citizens during times of crisis.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a legacy of contributing to various public causes, has shown an unwavering dedication to philanthropy. He has made generous contributions to girl child education initiatives and environmental causes. In 2019, he donated Rs. 21 lakh from his personal savings to the corpus fund for the welfare of sanitation workers during Kumbh Mela.
On being awarded the Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea, he immediately allocated the entire prize money of Rs. 1.3 crore to the Namami Gange project, aimed at rejuvenating the Ganga river.
More recently, PM Modi raised Rs. 3.40 crore by auctioning his mementos, and the entire amount was donated to the national Clean Ganga mission. In addition, Rs. 8.35 crore was raised by auctioning gifts received by the Prime Minister up to 2015, with the entire sum dedicated to the Namami Gange mission.
Even before assuming the role of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi set an inspiring precedent. Upon completing his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he donated Rs. 21 lakh from his personal savings to educate the daughters of Gujarat government staff.
PM Modi’s dedication to philanthropy reached new heights when he raised Rs. 89.96 crore by auctioning all gifts received during his tenure as Chief Minister and directed the entire sum to the Kanya Kelavani Fund.
The impact of the PM CARES Fund has been monumental, with a broader vision encompassing not only relief assistance but also mitigation measures and capacity building. The PM Cares for Children scheme, which supports 4,345 children, is just one of the many initiatives funded by the PM CARES Fund. During a crucial time for the nation, the fund has proven to be a lifeline for those in need.
The PM CARES Fund has garnered recognition and praise from various quarters, both across the country and around the world. Eminent personalities such as industrialist and TATA Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, former Supreme Court judge Justice KT Thomas, and former Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Kariya Munda have been nominated as trustees of the fund
This high-profile involvement underscores the trust and credibility that the fund enjoys.
In a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his appreciation for the wholehearted contributions of people to the PM CARES Fund. The meeting highlighted the fund’s substantial role in responding effectively to emergencies and distressing situations, including relief assistance, mitigation measures, and capacity building.
(Writer is Professor & Chairman of Centre for Narendra Modi Studies, New Delhi.
Email: [email protected])–
Dr. Jasim Mohammad
Former Head & Group Editor, Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Urdu Daily) & Aalami Sahara TV (Urdu News Channel)
Former Media Advisor, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
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