Sunday, 26 April 2015

Donating to #NepalEarthquake, PMNRF clauses, and other points


Update: Its clear now that the PMNRF will help Indian citizens who have been affected by the earthquake.




Like many, I have been wondering if the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund can offer help to Nepal, especially because of the 3rd clause in the T&Cs of the donation as copied below.
  1. Contributions from Government/budgetary support or from the balance sheets of PSUs  are not accepted in PMNRF.
  2. Conditional contributions, where the donor specifically mentions that the amount is meant for a particular purpose, are  not accepted in the Fund.
  3. PMNRF provides relief only to the citizens of India. Hence contributions wherein the donor mention that the amount is meant for the foreign citizens/calamities abroad, are  not accepted in the Fund.   
However, it is interesting to note that the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) is working in Nepal and its source of funding is definitely Indian Government. Next, whatever help India is offering to Nepal also is funded by some source in India only. So, we can not be sure yet about how they account for these transactions and expenses. So, I'd just go ahead and donate to PMNRF and let them take a call on what they do. In any case, I can be certain that my donation will be used for a right cause.


So, where are people donating now? And where should you donate if you plan to?

This tweet by PM Modi doesn't clarify where the donation was sent.

Several companies are pledging funds to the PMNRF now. So, what I'd do is simply go ahead and donate to the PMNRF. The amount will definitely be of help, in some way. Moreover, I am sure that my donation gets used for a good cause. 

Just take that step now and donate. No second thoughts. Donate wherever to whomever whatever you can but take care to ensure your funds are going to a correct organization. 

Unfortunately, the world has vultures and scavengers who are ready to take advantages of adversities too. 

Personally, I wouldn't donate to any NGOs, especially considering the kind of outcomes we are seeing these days and also their dubious claims. If I, personally, would have to choose among NGOs only, the I would choose Sewa International, solely because I have seen their work.


Donate now, and #PrayforNepal




Here are some points taken from the PMNRF and PMO India websites for further reading.
  • The PMO has 2 funds, namely the PM National Relief Fund and the National Defence Fund. 
  • The resources of the PMNRF are utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots. Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment, etc.
  • The fund consists entirely of public contributions and does not get any budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested with banks in fixed deposits. Disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister. 
  • PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament. The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes. 
  • PMNRF operates from the Prime Minister’s Office, South Block, New Delhi-110011 and does not pays any license fee. PMNRF is exempt under Income Tax Act, 1961 under Section 10 and 139 for return purposes. 
  • Prime Minister is the Chairman of PMNRF and is assisted by Officers/ Staff on honorary basis. 
  • Permanent Account Number of PMNRF is AACTP4637Q.

Now, some important questions and answers that PMNRF offers.

What criterions have been fixed for disbursal of funds held under PMNRF?
  • The disbursement out of the fund is made at the discretion of the Prime Minister, and in accordance with the Prime Minister’s directions.

Are contributions towards the PMNRF exempted from Income Tax?
  • Yes, all contributions towards the PMNRF are exempted from Income Tax under Section 80(G).

Who are eligible to receive money from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund?
  • The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is primarily utilized to render immediate relief to families of those affected by natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes etc. and to victims of the major accidents and riots. In addition to this, the PMNRF provides financial assistance to indigent patients for treatment of major diseases at Government/PMNRF empanelled hospitals to partially defray the expenses.

Now, the next big question is, Can a National Relief Fund be used to offer help outside India? 

  • The straight answer could be NO. However, there could be situations where the PM may use his discretion but again, that should in some way help Indian citizens.

So, what will happen to the funds that are donated to PMNRF for the purpose of #NepalEarthquake relief?
  • They could be used to help Indians stranded in Nepal or those who have unfortunately lost their lives due to the earthquake. There has been one situation that I have sighted below. Thus, we should await details on this.

Details of relief measures funded out of the PMNRF for purposes such as accidents, terrorist activities and communal conflagrations in recent years are as follows:-
S.N. Purpose Relief Measure
6. Bus accident in Nepal on 15-07-2012. Ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased persons has been sanctioned. Rs. 37 lakh has been released for 37 death cases.