The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), which is a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, will have up to 13 eminent experts to undertake relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency including the creation and up-gradation of healthcare facilities. Most importantly, the eminent experts will be working pro bono, reports Economic Times.
The PM-CARES will be headed by the prime minister, who will be the chairperson of the Trust. He will have the power to nominate three people to the board of trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy.
The board of trustees also include the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister in an ex-officio capacity.
Reportedly, there is also a provision to set up an advisory board of not more than 10 persons — selected by the trustees from among the medical practitioners, healthcare professionals, academicians, economists and lawyers.
“The responsibility of the trustees in PM-CARES has been defined, unlike in the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF). The latter has no provision of an advisory board. PMNRF has the PM, deputy PM, finance minister, Congress president and a representative of the Tata Trust and industry representative chosen by FICCI, as members of the trust,” a senior official speaking to Economic Times revealed.
A senior BJP functionary said Congress was objecting to PM-CARES because the Congress president had not found a place in it unlike in the PMNRF. “The idea is not to make the PM-CARES fund political in any sense. There is no BJP representation on the PM-CARES fund – people will be on the trust based on their positions in government,” the functionary said.
“PM-CARES’s objectives include undertaking and supporting relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress either man-made or natural, including the creation or up-gradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support.”
PM-CARES will also render financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take any such other steps deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population. Both PM-CARES and PMNRF offer 100% income-tax exemption on donations and will accept them from individuals and organisations abroad too, the ET report says.
The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020 following the Chinese COVID-19 pandemic in India. The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.