Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

PM-CARES Fund should cover COVID orphaned children: SC


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: PM-CARES Fund

Mains level: Impact of pandemic on Children

The Supreme Court has clarified that welfare schemes such as the PM CARES Fund should cover both children, who became orphans during the Covid-19 pandemic and those, who became orphans due to Covid-19.

What is PM-CARES Fund?

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was 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 defense, home, and finance ministers.
  • The fund will also enable micro-donations. The minimum donation accepted for the PM CARES Fund is ₹10.
  • The donations will be tax-exempt and fall under corporate social responsibility.

Why cover orphaned children?

  • Over 75,000 children have been orphaned, abandoned, or have lost a parent during the COVID pandemic.
  • It is feared that many of them may become victims of human trafficking rackets or descend into crime.

Under the scrutiny of the court

  • The Supreme Court has endorsed the PM CARES Fund as a “public charitable trust” to which donors contribute voluntarily.
  • 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).

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