AGENCIES, New Delhi: The Centre’s clarification that corporate donations to PM-CARES will come under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure but not those to chief minister’s relief fund invited criticism from the opposition, saying it was “blatantly discriminatory” in the fight against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Friday had said that contributions made to PM-CARES will qualify as CSR expenditure under Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013 and was further through an office memorandum issued on March 28, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of Prime Minister ‘s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES).
In the COVID-19 related FAQ, the ministry also made it clear that the “Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ is not included in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and therefore any contribution to such funds shall not included in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and therefore any contribution to such funds shall not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure”.
However, the contributions made to State Disaster Management Authorities to combat coronavirus will qualify as CSR expenditure.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was an attempt to “corner all CSR monies for his (Modi’s) personally named fund and deny states who are in the frontline to combat COVID-19 these funds.” “This is “Cooperative Federalism”? Amend Schedule 7 of Companies Act to permit State governments to access these funds which could save millions of lives,” he said.
He also tweeted, “This is unacceptable. States are on the frontline battling the pandemic despite a severe fund crunch. Instead of providing them additional funds, even legitimate dues are denied by the Centre. #COVID-19.”