New Delhi: The Indian government has allowed foreign individual and groups to donate to the newly-constituted PM-CARES funds due to the “unprecedented nature of the pandemic”.
On March 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that a new charitable trust – Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency (PM-CARES) fund – had been constituted as part of the fight against the novel coronavirus.
During his video-conference with Indian ambassadors this week, Modi had told envoys to mobilise funds from non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin for the PM-CARES fund.
Since the Indian government generally has a policy on not accepting foreign aid during previous disasters, there was a bit of confusion on whether foreign nations can contribute to the fund.
On Wednesday, government sources clarified that a decision had been taken with regard to the PM-CARES fund to also invite foreign nationals and groups to make their contributions.
“A public charitable trust ‘PM-CARES’ was setup in view of several spontaneous requests from India and abroad for making generous contribution to support the Government in its fight against COVID-19. In view of the interest expressed to contribute to government’s efforts, as well as keeping in mind the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, contributions to the trust can be done by individuals and organisations, both in India and abroad,” they said.
However, there is no determination about whether India would accept aid from a foreign government.
Sources said that there have been no offers from any government yet to extend any financial support to India on coronavirus.
The US government had announced foreign assistance worth $274 million for 64 countries, which included India. But as per sources, this was not direct aid for India, but for strengthening the work of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the country.
Starting with the 2004 tsunami, India has consistently rejected aid offers from foreign governments during as relief during natural disasters.
However, India now allows contributions to the Prime Minister’s relief fund and chief minister’s relief fund “from NRIs, PIOs and international entities”.