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  Coronavirus Response

Published on: May 11, 2020, 11:20 a.m.
Companies pour CSR money into the PM CARES Fund
  • The Prime Minister holds a review meeting. Source:

By Business India Editorial

Since its launch in April, donations by companies and individuals have been pouring into the PM CARES (Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund, a public charitable trust set up as a "dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation to provide relief to the affected".

All contributions towards the Fund are not only exempt from additional income tax payments, companies and public sector units are also allowed to categorise these amounts as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

A report by The Print puts the first-week collection alone at Rs6,500 crore. This is much higher than public donations of Rs2,119 crore received in the alternative Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

Several Indian companies have stepped ahead with support. Reliance Industries announced an Rs500-crore contribution as well as initial support of Rs5 crore contribution to the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The Tata Group has contributed Rs500 crore to the fund, as part of its overall contribution of Rs1,500 crore.

Engineering and project management company Larsen and Toubro has chipped in Rs150 crore on its part. The company has also set aside Rs500 crore per month to support about 160,000 contract workers.

Bharti Enterprises, which committed over Rs100 crore to India's fight against COVID-19, has said that a significant portion of the corpus will be contributed to the fund. The Hero Group has also pledged Rs100 crore as aid, half of which is being contributed to the PM-CARES Fund and the remaining spent on other relief efforts.

While public sector company NMDC contributed Rs150 crore to the fund, Coal India's contribution touched Rs221 crore, which included Rs61 crore from employees as a one-day salary contribution.

Around 256,000 employees of public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) contributed two days’ salary to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund totalling Rs100 crore. SBI had earlier committed 0.25 per cent of annual profit for FY2019-20 as a part of its CSR activities to fight COVID-19.

Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank and promoter Uday Kotak committed support of Rs25 crore each. Mumbai-based real estate company IndiaBulls contributed Rs21 crore. Pharma company Lupin’s employees contributed Rs5.5 crore, equivalent to two days of their individual salaries. Lupin matched that with an equal sum of Rs5.5 crore as a donation.

The Prime Minister is Chairperson (ex-officio) of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.

The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Prime Minister) is expected to nominate three trustees to the Board, who will be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration, and philanthropy. However, no such appointment has been made so far. The Fund will be audited by independent auditor(s) appointed by the Trustees.

On 10 April the Ministry of Corporate Affairs clarified that while contributions made by companies to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund or State Relief Fund for COVID-19 do not qualify as CSR expenditure, contributions made to the State Disaster Management Authority would.

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