PM CARES Fund

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : September 6th, 2022

PM CARES Fund is a very thoughtful initiative by the Government of India. As part of its mission, PM CARES Fund provides relief during emergencies caused by pandemics. It was inaugurated on 27th March 2020. PM CARES for children scheme is a public charitable trust aimed at providing support to those children who became orphans or were abandoned during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The PM CARES for children scheme began on and from 29th May 2021.

PM CARES Fund is a crucial topic for all UPSC Aspirants for all stages of the UPSC Exam. Given that the country is still often facing an upsurge of Covid-19 waves and is still reeling from the damage caused, the PM CARES Fund is an innovative solution.

Table of Content

What is PM CARES Fund?

The PM CARES fund was established by the government to address any emergency or distress situation, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The PM CARES Fund has the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi as the chairperson.
  • Apart from him, the other important officials involved as the Trustee members are the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman.
  • Apart from that, the Prime Minister also is vested with the power to nominate three individuals to the Fund's Board of Trustees. They are eminent people in health, science, law, research, social work, philanthropy, and public administration.

Objectives of PM CARES Fund

The objectives of the PM CARES Fund are as follows.

  • The Fund is to provide relief in any case of emergencies relating to public health. It is also applicable for other emergencies such as natural calamities, man-made calamities, etc.
  • The primary objective of the Fund is to maintain and construct new healthcare facilities and fund healthcare services if required.
  • To reach out for financial assistance to anyone affected as well as fund relevant loans and grants.
  • Any other such activities that are relevant to the objectives of the plan.

Objectives of the PM CARES For Children

The PM CARES for children scheme aims to support the well-being and upbringing of orphaned and abandoned children of the Pandemic. It includes their education and health, helping them to a sustainable life till the age of twenty-three years.

  • The scheme offers each. child a total of Rs. 10 lakh.
  • This corpus gives a stipend to children every month from the legal age of eighteen.
  • This continues till the age of twenty-three.
  • After that, the remaining amount is given to the individual who may use it for personal and professional purposes.
  • The scheme takes care of the children's education by having them enrolled in central government-owned schools.
  • For children below the age of six years, the scheme offers Anganwadi pre-school education.
  • The scheme manages the children's higher education by providing an amount equivalent to a scholarship. It also takes care of the educational loans of such children.
  • It also offers them health insurance, the amount being Rs. 5 lakhs per person. The Fund takes care of the insurance premiums until the child attains legal age.
  • It allows the children a monthly stipend of Rs. 4000 that covers all daily needs.
  • It also provides for supplementary nutrition.
  • The scheme offers an exemption of all tuition fees for students admitted in private schools.
  • It offers free textbooks and uniforms for government school students who are beneficiaries of the scheme.
  • Most importantly, the scheme offers mental and emotional support to the children by providing them with counselling.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is responsible for implementing and executing the scheme.

The Similarities And Differences Between PM CARES Fund and PMNRF

It is a rather common mistake to be confused between PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) and PM CARES. While their aims are quite alike, these two are not the same. There are, in fact, a fair few differences between PMNRF and PM CARES Fund.

Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF)

Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund

Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the PMNRF.

Narendra Modi introduced the PM CARES Fund.

This was inaugurated in January 1948.

This was introduced on 27th March 2020.

PMNRF had the main aim of providing relief to the displaced people during the India and Pakistan Parties.

PM CARES Fund was established to provide relief to the people during any Covid-19 emergencies.

The Prime Minister is the chairperson of PMNRF. The spokesperson of FICCI, TATA members, and the Congress President formed the other members.

PM CARES Fund has the Prime Minister as the head along with Home, Defence, and Finance Ministers. The Prime Minister is vested with the power to nominate these other members.

PMNRF accepts donations starting from Rs. 100.

PM CARES Fund accepts micro-donations, starting from as little as Rs. 10.

PMNRF can be utilised for all kinds of natural calamities and cases such as kidney transplants, cancer treatments, and acid attack victims.

PM CARES Fund was established for emergencies related to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is supposed to be utilised for any other such emergencies that may happen in the future.

PMNRF is associated with all government hospitals (both central and state) and includes some private hospitals.

The connection of the PM CARES Fund with the hospital is ambiguous.

PMNRF is reportedly running low on liquidation with only 15% in the Fund, making it difficult to use even in case of emergencies. A major amount of the sum total is in fact, invested.

PM CARES Fund has no such reports that ensure that the Fund can be utilised without restrictions.

PMNRF only allows donations made voluntarily by individuals and companies.

PM CARES Fund accepts not only voluntary donations made by individuals and companies but also from Public Sector Undertakings.

Similarities Between PM CARES Fund and PMNRF

  • PMNRF and PM CARES are both established as funds.
  • Neither PMNRF nor PM CARES Fund receives any budgetary support.
  • PMNRF and PM CARES Fund are both eligible for accepting foreign aid. However, these contributions are not included in Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
  • PMNRF and PM CARES Fund allow donations 100% exempted from Income Tax. Donations to PMNRF ensure complete tax deductibility. The same is the case for the PM CARES Fund. Both fall under the Income Tax Act (Section 80G).
  • It requires directions from the Prime Minister to utilise funds from both PMNRF and PM CARES Fund.
  • PMNRF and PM CARES Fund expenditures do not require parliamentary approval.
  • PMNRF does not fall under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Therefore, the question of whether it applies to the PM CARES Fund is left ambiguous.
  • Both of these funds are audited by chartered accountants from SARC Associates.

Funding of PM CARES Fund

PM CARES Fund is not sustained by any budgetary support. Thus the Fund is made entirely from donations along with some other sources.

  • PM CARES Fund is mainly supported by domestic donations. However, in order to encourage more people to donate, the Fund accepts donations starting from Rs. 10, the smallest denomination.
  • For the companies that donate to the PM CARES Fund, it has been made clear by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs that any such donations will be accounted for as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.
  • It is mandatory for companies making a net profit of Rs. 5 crores to spend 2% minimum of the average profit made in the last three years on CSR expenditure yearly.
  • PM CARES Fund also accepts contributions made out of Public Sector Undertakings.
  • It also must be noted that PM CARES Fund is a government fund; thus, the contributions are not included in the Consolidated Fund of India.

Ambiguous Exclusion From The Ambit Of Right to Information Act

  • The Right to Information is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution. As per the democratic nature of India, it is a fundamental right of the citizens to question and know about the workings of the Indian Government.
  • Unlike PMNRF, PM CARES Fund does not explicitly state its exclusion from the RTI Act. However, as per recent reports, access to the information about PM CARES Fund was denied when sought through the Act. The denial was made based on some technicalities.

Issues Faced by PM CARES Fund

The PM CARES Fund and the PM CARES for children scheme are novel initiatives. But ever since its establishment, the PM CARES Fund has been a target for the opposition parties who keep questioning its legibility of the Fund.

  • Even though the Fund has the Prime Minister as the head along with other important ministers as Trustee members, it is still claimed to be a public charity fund.
  • Like PMNRF, it also exempts any foreign contribution to the Fund from Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
  • But while PMNRF did not accept any contributions from Public Sector Undertakings, PM CARES Fund accepts these as well. The Fund also keeps it ambiguous whether it is included within the ambit of the RTI Act or not.
  • While there are previous instances of public funds being set up to bring national emergencies under control, PM CARES Fund has been promoted by Indian Embassies throughout the world under the advice of the Prime Minister. This does not fit in with the workings of public charitable trusts.
  • The issue that has been raised is that only Rs. 3,976 crores of the total Rs. 10,990 crores have been spent between the period of 27th March 2020 and 31st March 2021. This is only 36% of the total amount.
  • In a nutshell, despite being a novel effort, PM CARES Fund is still shrouded in ambiguity.

PM CARES Fund UPSC

The PM CARES Fund UPSC is an important portion of the Current Affairs section for the UPSC Exam 2022. The topic is also crucial for UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Interviews. It is an important General Knowledge topic, and candidates must take the help of UPSC Study Material and Notes for the preparation of this topic. Candidates also must take a look at the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to understand the paper patterns and prepare accordingly.

>> Download PM CARES Fund UPSC

PM CARES Fund UPSC Prelims Sample Question

Question: What Fund was created by the Central Government to fight against Covid 19?

  1. PM - COVID Fund
  2. PM - Cares Fund
  3. COVID se Suraksha
  4. PM - coronavirus

Answer: B

Other Important UPSC Notes
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas YojanaProject 75
Stockholm ConventionGlobal Warming
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)Article 28 of the Indian Constitution
Forest Rights Act 2006UN Environment Programme
List of High Courts in IndiaKeshvananda Bharti Case
Red Sanders in IndiaMonetary Policy

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FAQs on PM CARES Fund

  • The PM CARES Fund does not fall under the ambit of the RTI Act.

  • The aims and objectives of PMNRF and PM CARES Fund are quite similar, but both funds are not the same. Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated PMNRF back in 1948 to provide relief to the people displaced because of the India-Pakistan partition. PM CARES Fund, on the other hand, is established by Narendra Modi. The aim of the Fund is to provide relief from the emergencies of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is also applicable for similar emergencies that may happen in future.

  • PM CARES Fund is entirely dependent on public donations. It accepts domestic and foreign donations.

  • The PM CARES Fund does not get any budgetary support.

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