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Funds like PM CARES are ‘separate, different, distinct’ from NDRF, says government in Supreme Court

Representational image only.

Representational image only.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday defended in the Supreme Court the existence of PM CARES Fund to receive “voluntary donations”.

The MHA also outright rejected a plea to credit the amounts received by PM CARES for fighting coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic into the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), which is constituted under a Parliamentary statute.

The Ministry told a three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan that funds like PM CARES were “separate, different, distinct” from the NDRF. “Separate provisions” govern them.

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“Mere existence of a statutory fund [NDRF] would not prohibit the creation of a different fund like PM CARES Fund, which provides for voluntary donations...There are several funds established earlier or now for carrying out various relief works. PM CARES is one such fund with voluntary donations”, the Ministry's affidavit said.

It explained that funds like the NDRF, formed under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, were provided for by Central and State budgets. “These statutory funds do not take private contributions”.

The government was responding to a writ petition filed by NGO Cente for PIL, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, that contributions made to the PM CARES Fund should be transferred entirely to the NDRF.

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The petition urged the court to direct the government that future contributions and grants by individuals and institutions for the COVID-19 battle should be credited to the NDRF and not PM CARES Fund.

“lssue a writ, order or direction to the Union of lndia to utilise NDRF for the purpose of providing assistance in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, all the contributions/grants from individuals and institutions shall be credited to the NDRF... All the fund collected in the PM CARES Fund till date may be directed to be transferred to the NDRF”, the petition said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 11:41:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/funds-like-pm-cares-are-separate-different-distinct-from-ndrf-says-government-in-supreme-court/article32032830.ece

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