Contributions to CM’s fund for COVID-19 relief to be transferred to SDMA

State govt.’s move follows Centre’s clarification that such contributions don’t qualify as CSR expenditure

Updated - April 11, 2020 11:45 pm IST

Published - April 11, 2020 11:44 pm IST - Chennai

Hard to miss:  An awareness doll put up at Thiruvanmiyur on Saturday.  M. Karunakara

Hard to miss: An awareness doll put up at Thiruvanmiyur on Saturday. M. Karunakara

The Tamil Nadu government has said that all contributions made to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF) towards efforts to combat COVID-19 will be allocated to the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA). The move follows the Centre’s clarification that such contributions do not qualify as corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs said that contributions made to the PM-CARES Fund shall qualify as CSR expenditure, as per Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013. The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or the State Relief Fund for COVID-19 is not included and does not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure, the Ministry said.

However, it added that contributions made to the State Disaster Management Authority to combat COVID-19 shall qualify as CSR expenditure.

“The contributions [made] to CMPRF from the date of orders of the National Disaster Management Authority, i.e., from March 24 to June 30, shall be allocated to the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority and utilised exclusively for activities to combat the spread of COVID-19,” an order issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) S. Krishnan said.

The funds will be used for the procurement of personal protective equipment, medical equipment like ventilators, and consumables for hospitals, among others, it said.

They will also be utilised for the creation of isolation and quarantine facilities and other infrastructure for healthcare, including preventive healthcare, and for feeding and supply of dry rations to migrant labourers and homeless persons, among other purposes, the order said.

“We have directed the transfer of the funds to the State Disaster Management Authority, with the intention of making them eligible as CSR expenditure,” a senior State government official told The Hindu .

Recently, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said CMPRF has received contributions to the tune of ₹101 crore, including donations from the public.

Individuals can claim Income Tax exemption for contributions to the fund.

“The Centre’s move may result in the unintended consequence of the favouring of the Central fund rather than the State government [fund]. This needs to be rectified to encourage free flow to both Central and State government [funds], based on the Corporates’ preference rather than on fine interpretation of law,” said S.E. Prabakar, a chartered accountant.

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