The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) received Rs 535.44 crore as foreign donations during the last three years, show the official records.
The Receipt and Payment Accounts (Audited) of the PM CARES Fund, which was set up in 2020 in wake of Covid-19 pandemic, shows that the value of foreign contributions received in the fund stood at Rs 0.40 crore during financial year 2019-20, Rs 494.92 crore in 2020-21, and Rs 40.12 crore in 2021-22.
The records show that the PM CARE Fund received Rs 24.85 crore as interest income from its foreign contribution account in three financial years from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
It shows that foreign contributions to the PM CARES Fund peaked during 2020-21, the financial year that witnessed the outbreak of the pandemic, but it plummeted in the following fiscal year, which saw havoc wrecked by the deadly second wave of Covid-19.
Like the fall in foreign contribution, voluntary contributions too declined to Rs 1,896.76 crore during 2021-22 from Rs 7,183.77 crore during 2020-21.
The voluntary contribution stood at Rs 3,075.85 crore during 2019-20.
In all, the PM CARES Fund received a total of Rs 12,691.82 crore — as voluntary contributions (Rs 12,156.39 crore) and foreign contributions (Rs 535.43 crore) — during three years from 2019-22.
The PM CARES Fund was registered as a public charitable trust under the Registration Act, 1908, in New Delhi on March 27, 2020 — three days after the country went into lockdown in the wake of Covid-19.
It was set up “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”.
The Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund, while the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister are ex-officio trustees of the Fund. The PM has nominated three trustees — Justice K T Thomas (retd), Kariya Munda and Ratan N Tata — to the Board. As per the information available on the Fund’s website, “donations to PM CARES Fund would qualify for 80G benefits for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961. 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 enables PM CARES Fund to accept donations and contributions from individuals and organisations based in foreign countries. This is consistent with respect to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). PMNRF has also received foreign contributions as a public trust since 2011,” it states.
The details of the expenditure of the PM Cares Fund show that the amounts were disbursed for ventilators to government hospitals, welfare of migrants, establishment of two 500-bedded makeshift Covid hospitals, installation and operationalisation of 162 Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants, procurement of Covid-19 vaccine, and other Covid-related supplies.
As on March 31, 2022, a balance of Rs 5,4156.65 crore was available in the fund, show the records.