Allocation of money from PM CARES fund has started and so far ₹3,100 crores have been deployed to help people fight Coronavirus. However, several ambiguities have been raised by the opposition regarding the fund’s opacity and operations. Complete Coverage: Coronavirus
Crux of the Matter
We Care, Says India Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) is a public charitable trust set up by the Union Government of India. The collected amount will be used to facilitate the smooth running of the lives of needy people stuck far away from their homes and of the daily wagers. It will be used to strengthen the medical infrastructure and fulfill medical demands during this health crisis.
Allocation of Money The Central Government has started allocating money from the PM CARES fund for relief work. As of now, the government has allocated ₹2000 crore for increasing the production of ventilators made in India. ₹1000 crore will be used to support migrant labourers by providing them food, water, shelter, and medical facilities. Understanding the importance of a vaccine to counter the Coronavirus, the Government has allocated ₹100 crores for research and development of the vaccine in India.
Recent Brouhaha The opposition has raised the issue of the opacity of the fund. Since the beginning of the fund, the government has not disclosed information on who donated how much money, how much money has been collected, and where the money will be used. There is also an ambiguity over the fund falling under the ambit of the Right to Information Act besides having no information on auditing of the fund. Furthermore, whether corporate firms’ donations will be considered under CSR activities or not is unclear.
The 1950s saw the start of the modern era of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when it was more commonly known as SR or social responsibility. In 1953, Howard Bowen published his book, “Social Responsibilities of the Businessman”, and is largely credited with coining the phrase ‘corporate social responsibility’.
Partition of India in 1947 resulted in mass violence and people moving across borders in all means. Thus to support the displaced people from Pakistan, Jawaharlal Nehru created the ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PMNRF) in January 1948. The PM CARES fund is different from the PMNRF, PM CARES fund is specifically for pandemics while PMNRF is for all types of disasters.
Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed against the PM CARES Fund by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma. In his PIL he claimed that the power to form a contingency relief fund like this lies with the Parliament of India. CJI SA Bobde said that this is a misconceived petition and dismissed the PIL on 13th April.