Support pour in from many quarters for PM’s emergency fund to fight coronavirus

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13 lakh railway will donate one day’s salary, equal to Rs 151 crore to PM-CARES fund: Goyal   

NEW DELHI, March 29 (PTI): President, Union ministers, ministries, government-run organisations and individuals and private bodies contributed or made a pledge to donate to the newly created PM CARES Fund on Sunday and Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked them for contributing to India’s fight against the new coronavirus.

President Ram Nath Kovind pledged to donate a month’s salary to the fund to “help the nation tide over the crisis of COVID-19” and appealed to countrymen to donate generously to it.

The railways, the country’s largest public sector employer, will donate Rs 151 crore to the fund, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said.

“Following PM’s call, I, Suresh Angadi will donate one month’s salary, 13 lakh railway, PSU employees will donate one day’s salary, equal to Rs 151 crore to PM-CARES fund,” Goyal said. Angadi is his deputy.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also announced his decision to donate one month’s salary, with Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and the ministry’s employees deciding to donate a day’s salary, amounting to a total of Rs 500 crore.

“It is estimated that around Rs 500 crore will be collectively provided by the Defence Ministry to the fund from various wings, including Army, Navy, Air Force, defence PSUs and others,” a spokesperson said.

The Union government has set up the public charitable trust under the name Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Modi is the chairman of the trust and its members include defence minister, home minister and finance minister. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar were among others who have made a similar announcement.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad too have donated their one month’s salary towards fighting the pandemic.

The ruling BJP has announced that all its MPs will contribute a month’s salary to the cause. With Modi’s decision to set up this fund, all donations from his party leaders will likely go towards it, a person familiar with the matter said.

The party has also asked all its MPs, 303 in Lok Sabha and 83 in Rajya Sabha, to sanction Rs one crore from the annual Rs five-crore MP Local Area Development Scheme they receive towards combating the virus. Javadekar said he will give Rs one crore to the fund and a similar amount to Pune administration.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has donated Rs 21 lakh, collected from its employees who it said has volunteered to contribute, to PM-CARES Fund.

The Group A employees have donated two-day salary and Group B and C employees one day’s salary to the fund, the CBSE said in a statement. Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that the Central Armed Police Forces contributed Rs 116 crore to the fund, a total of one day salary of its personnel.

Various ministries have said employees’ contribution is voluntary and those not keen on it may opt out.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker On Birla have also donated a month’s salary.

After President Kovind made his donation pledge, Modi hailed him, saying he is leading the way and inspiring the nation. The prime minister also tweeted his thanks and praise to people and organisations after they posted their decision to contribute to the fund. After the JSW said it will contribute Rs 100 crore to the fund, Modi said the poorest of the poor will benefit from their remarkable gesture.

“I am extremely proud of our industrial leaders, who are rising to the occasion and contributing towards a healthy India…” Modi said.

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