The Supreme Court, in its order on the utilisation of PM CARES Fund for the national disaster management, said the fund money can't be transferred to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
While disposing of the petition, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said there's no need for fresh national disaster relief plan. The apex court said the funds collected by the PM CARES Fund are entirely different and come under the ambit of charitable trusts.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, have time and again raised questions on the utility and advantages of having a separate fund when the PMNRF (Prime Minister's National Relief Fund) is for the same purpose.
The statement issued by the government justifies the setting up of a fund by saying that distress situations, whether natural or otherwise, demand expeditious and collective action for alleviating the suffering of those affected, mitigation/control of damage to infrastructure and capacities etc.
Established on March 27, 2020 as a charitable trust, PM CARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund Trust intends to deal with any kind of emergency or distress, such as COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected.
The trust is headed by the Prime Minister. Other members of the trust are Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
The PM CARES Fund tries to differentiate itself from PMNRF by enabling micro-donations. The statement issued by the government specifically says the fund will enable micro-donations.
One can donate as low as Rs 10 in the PM CARES Fund, while the minimum one can donate in PM National Relief Fund is Rs 100.
Contributions towards PM CARES Fund are eligible expenditure under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Under CSR, companies have to spend 2% of their last year's profit towards social causes. Many corporate houses like Reliance Industries, JSW Steel, etc have contributed to PM-CARES Fund.