From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PM CARES Fund
Mains level : Disaster management in India
The Supreme Court has endorsed the PM CARES Fund as a “public charitable trust” to which donors contribute voluntarily.
Try this question:
Q. The creation of PM CARES fund is violative of the provision of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Analyse.
What is the case?
- The petition had argued that the PM-CARES Fund was not subject to CAG audit.
- It was not under “public scrutiny”. Contributions to it were “100% tax-free”.
- It was accused that there was statutory fund already in existence under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to receive contributions to finance the fight against a calamity.
About PM CARES Fund
- The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) were created on 28 March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
- The fund will be used for combat, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.
- The PM is the chairman of the trust. Members will include the defence, home and finance ministers.
- The fund will also enable micro-donations. The minimum donation accepted for the PM CARES Fund is ₹10 (14¢ US).
- The donations will be tax-exempt and fall under corporate social responsibility.
What did the Court rule?
- There is “no occasion” for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit a public charitable trust independent of budgetary support or government money.
- The court said that PM-CARES is “not open” for a PIL petitioner to question the “wisdom” that created the fund in an hour of need.
- The court dismissed the idea that the PM CARES was constituted to “circumvent” the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
- The Bench also refused to direct the transfer of funds from the PM CARES Fund to the NDRF. It said they were two separate entities.