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Donations to PM CARES allowed under CSR, but not to states or CMs: Corporate ministry 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | ANI


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New Delhi: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) clarified Friday that contributions to ‘Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ and ‘State Relief Fund’ for Covid-19 cannot be claimed as corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending by companies.

This comes after the MCA allowed contributions to the PM CARES fund on 28 March, which was created to collect public donations for Covid-19, as CSR expenditure.

A set of FAQs released by the ministry also said that ex-gratia payment to temporary or casual or daily wage workers over and above the disbursement of wages, specifically for fighting Covid-19, can be classified as CSR.

The ministry said that this was a “one-time exception” provided to companies only after the board of the company makes an explicit declaration to this effect and it is duly certified by the statutory auditor.

It, however, clarified that payment of daily wages to casual and daily workers and salaries to employees and contract labour won’t qualify as CSR expenditure, stating that it was part of the moral or contractual obligations of the company.


Also read: PM CARES gets Rs 6,500 crore donation in a week, 3 times more than what PMNRF got in 2 yrs


Corporate social responsibility expenditure

Corporates are mandated by law to spend 2 per cent of their net profits towards expenditure or activities that qualify as corporate social responsibility. These may include funds directed towards promoting education and skill development, helping eradicate poverty and hunger, improving child and maternal mortality rate or for disaster relief.

At present, companies with a net profit of Rs 5 crore or a net worth of Rs 500 crore or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore have to spend 2 per cent of their average net profits of the last three years as CSR.

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had relaxed norms around what constitutes CSR spending.

Along with allowing contributions to the prime minister’s fund as CSR expenditure, MCA stated that all Covid-19 related spending on health care can be classified as CSR expenditure including preventive health care and sanitation, and disaster management.


Also read: Modi tells Indian envoys to ‘mobilise’ funds for PM-CARES fund to tackle Covid-19


PM CARES fund

The government had constituted the PM CARES fund last month and relaxed norms to enable companies to claim 100 per cent tax deductions on contributions made to the fund on par with the tax treatment to the PM’s National Relief fund. PM CARES had received nearly Rs 6,500 crore within a week of its launch, ThePrint had reported.

The fund can accept donations even from state-owned firms unlike the national relief fund that does not allow any contributions from such entities.

The FAQs also clarified that contributions made to state disaster management authorities to combat Covid-19 will qualify as CSR expenditure.

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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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