Donations by firms under PM-CARES to qualify as CSR activity

The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) notified the inclusion of contributions to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) in the section relating to company activities that count as corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Companies Act.

According to the notification issued on Tuesday, the change came into effect retrospectively from March 28, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi established the fund to provide relief to those affected by any kind of emergency or distress situation. With this notification, Schedule 7 of the Companies Act specifically mentioned that contributions to the PM CARES Fund would count towards a company's CSR obligations.

The earlier ministry clarification had included it under the provision that donations to any fund set up by the central government for socio-economic development and relief qualified as CSR expenditure, under the Schedule. Since then, the fund has received around Rs 9,677 crore from various sources including large donations from corporates and government agencies and staff.

On May 13, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the first allocation from the PM CARES fund of Rs 3,100 crore towards Covid-19 relief operations including funds for ventilators, migrant workers and vaccine development. More recently, Modi announced emergency financial aid of Rs 1,000 crore to West Bengal and Rs 500 crore to Odisha to tide over the destruction caused in the state by Cyclone Amphan, on Friday.

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