Prime Minister’s Relief Fund Current Affairs - 2020

GoI sets up PM-CARES Funds to fight against COVID-19

On March 28, 2020, Prime Minister Modi announced PM-CARES Fund. The fund is being raised to deal with the distress or emergency as that of COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights

PM-CARES is Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations fund. It is a dedicated fund with the primary objective to deal with threats like COVID-19. A trust has been created to collect these funds. Prime Minister of India is the Chairman of the trust. The other members of the trust include Finance Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister.

Features of the Funds

Funds being donated to the PM-CARES trust is to be exempted from tax under Section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act. The account of the fund is held by the State Bank of India.

PM National Relief Funds

The other funds that are in the hands of the Prime Minster include PM National Relief Funds. He is the chairman of the fund. It was raised by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru.

The PMNRF is used to support people affected by natural and man-made disasters. This inludes acid attacks, accidents and riots. It is also allotted to people for kidney transplantation treatments, heat, surgeries, etc. So far, the fund was extensively used during 2013 Uttarakhand floods, 2014 Assam Violence, 2015 Tamil Nadu Floods, 2015 Madhya Pradesh explosion.

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Parliament passes Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Parliament passed Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019 aimed at tightening Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) compliance and ensuring stricter action for non-compliance of the company law regulations. It amends the Companies Act, 2013. It was first passed by Lok Sabha on July 26, 2019 and then by Rajya Sabha by July 30, 2019.

Salient Features of Bill

  • It aims to ensure greater accountability and better enforcement of the corporate governance norms.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): It brings key change related to CSR spending, wherein companies would have to mandatorily keep unspent money into a special account. The companies will have one year to firm up CSR proposal and another three years to spend funds. In case money remains unspent for one plus three years, then the money will have to be moved to an escrow account, could even be Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
  • Registrar of Companies (RoCs): It empowers RoC to initiate action for removal of name of a company from Register of Companies if it is not carrying on any business or operation in according with Company Law.
  • Re-categorisation of 16 minor offences: It re-categories 16 out 81 compoundable offences mentioned in the parent Act as civil defaults, where adjudicating officers (appointed by the central government) may now levy penalties instead. These offences include: (i) failure to file annual return (ii) issuance of shares at a discount. Further, it also amends the penalties for some other offences.
  • Change in approving authority: It shifts powers for conversion from public to private companies from National Companies Law Tribunal to central government.

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