The Central government on Tuesday appointed veteran industrialist Ratan Tata, former Supreme Court judge K.T. Thomas, and former Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Kariya Munda as trustees of the PM CARES Fund, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Wednesday.
A meeting of trustees was held on Tuesday where the newly appointed members and other trustees, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were present. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to a statement of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Trust further decided to nominate other eminent persons for the constitution of Advisory Board to the PM CARES Fund. These eminent personalities included Rajiv Mehrishi, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Sudha Murthy, former Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, and Anand Shah, Co-founder of Teach for India and former CEO of Indicorps and Piramal Foundation.
At the meeting, a presentation was made on the various initiatives undertaken with the help of the PM CARES Fund, including the PM CARES for Children scheme which supports 4,345 children, the PMO statement said. Both Mr. Modi and the trustees lauded the contributions made by the people to the PM CARES fund, and it was discussed that a larger vision for not just responding to emergencies but also capacity building to respond to future challenges be done. The Prime Minister also said that the vast experience of public life of the trustees would contribute to making the fund more responsive.
The PM CARES Fund, set up to deal with emergencies such as the Covid pandemic, saw its corpus grow nearly three-fold to ₹10,990 crore in the 2020-21 fiscal, while the disbursal rose to ₹3,976 crore, according to the latest audited statement. The disbursal included ₹1,000 crore for migrant welfare and over ₹1,392 crore for procurement of Covid vaccine doses.
The fund was set up as a public charitable trust “keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected”.
The PM CARES Fund had generated a lot of interest immediately after Prime Minister Modi announced its formation after the COVID-19 outbreak and appealed for donations, prompting several private firms, government bodies and individuals, including celebrities to donate money.