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Covid-19 donations to CMRF excluded from CSR: Govt says law passed during UPA era

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/congress-slams-govt-for-excluding-covid-19-donations-to-cmrf-relief-from-csr-govt-says-law-passed-under-upa-era/articleshow/75106008.cms

NEW DELHI: Following criticism by several Congress chief ministers for not allowing coronavirus-related donations to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure, the government has clarified that the issue raised by the CMs is an outcome of a law passed by the UPA II government.

“On February 27, 2014, the Central government amended Schedule VII, including the item relating to funds eligible to receive CSR contributions. Under the amended Schedule VII, the item relating to ‘eligible funds’ included only Prime Minister’s Relief Fund (PMRF) and any other fund set up by the Central government for the purposes stated therein. Accordingly, funds set up by state governments were omitted in the amended Schedule VII,” according to government sources.

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Thus, the issue raised by most Congress CMs is an outcome of a law passed by the UPA government, the source added.

Quoting a March 2020 circular, the government source quoted that all contributions made for Covid-19 shall qualify as CSR expenditure.

“Even though this would not include a contribution to CMRF or any other state fund, it has been clarified that contribution of funds to the state disaster management authority for the specific purpose of combating COVID 19 shall count towards CSR expenditure,” the source added.

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“Thus there should be no difficulty for any company to make CSR contribution to any state government for fighting COVID 19 through the disaster management authority route, it said.

Earlier, the Congress has slammed the Union Government for not allowing donations to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as CSR expenditure.

“To disqualify contributions to State Relief Funds and CM Relief Funds to Fight Covid-19 from CSR expenditure is a huge disservice by the Modi government,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

He said Covid-19 in India is to be fought unitedly and not in separate silos.

“Don’t need a battle of PM CARES V/S CM Relief Funds!” said Surjewala.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in the meeting with the Prime Minister through video Conferencing, too, demanded that corporates be allowed to donate from their CSR account to the Chief Minister’s emergency relief fund on the lines of such facilities given to them with regard to putting money in the PM-CARES Fund.

(With inputs from agencies)

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