Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Supreme Court of India has asked the Centre whether the benefits provided under the PM Cares Fund to children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to other parentless children.
More about the news
- CJI has emphasized that an orphan is an orphan regardless of whether the parents died due to COVID-19, a road accident, or illness, and suggested extending the assistance to all orphans.
- The Supreme Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by Poulomi Pavini Shukla in 2018, and the matter has been pending for several years.
- The court suggested that the government could include orphans, especially those from socially and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, in the category of “children belonging to disadvantaged groups” under the Right to Education Act, which mandates free and compulsory education.
Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)
- PM CARES Fund is a dedicated fund established in 2020 to provide relief during emergency or distress situations, including public health emergencies and natural disasters.
- It operates as a public charitable trust registered under the Registration Act, 1908.
- Objectives include providing assistance for healthcare facilities, infrastructure, research, financial aid to the affected population, and any other related activities.
- The fund is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and includes ex-officio Trustees from the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, and Finance.
- Additional Trustees, nominated by the Prime Minister, are eminent individuals in various fields such as research, health, science, social work, law, public administration, and philanthropy.
- PM CARES Fund relies entirely on voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations and does not receive budgetary support.
- Donations to PM CARES Fund qualify for 80G benefits, providing 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- Contributions to the fund can also be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013.
- The fund is exempted under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and maintains a separate account for receiving foreign donations.