On the back of the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak in the country, sources in the government on Wednesday said that a decision has been made to accept foreign donations to help fight the pandemic. The clarification was made in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video conference with Indian envoys and high commissioners posted in world capitals on March 30.
"When PM spoke to our envoys... PM asked them to make efforts... a decision has been taken to accept foreign donation," government sources said.
Sources further explained that the PM-CARES was set-up after requests were received from India and overseas for making "generous contribution" towards supporting India's fight against the coronavirus.
"In view of the interest expressed to contribute to the government's efforts, as well as keeping in mind the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, contributions to the Trust can be done by individuals and organisations, both in India and abroad," sources said.
A press statement issued by the government after the PM's call stated that he had "advised heads of mission to suitably publicize the newly-established PM-CARES Fund to mobilize donations from abroad," which was among a range of tips offered by PM Modi to Indian missions abroad to contribute towards country's fight against the coronavirus.
"Prime Minister noted that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions, which was why even in this globalised era, most of the world had quarantined itself," the government release said.
There were whispers in a section of media after the PM's call, as it called upon foreign missions to "mobilise funds" from overseas to combat the pandemic. It was pointed out that the government had refused to accept foreign aid at the time of floods in Kerala in 2018, when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had offered Rs 700 crore to complement India's flood rescue efforts.