Direct contribution to National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF)
25th Jun, 2020
The Ministry of Finance has allowed individuals and institutions to contribute directly to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
- The National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), constituted under Section 46 of the Disaster ManagementAct, 2005.
- It acts as a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
- NDRF is located in the "Public Accounts" of Government of India under "Reserve Funds not bearing interest".
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG) audits the accounts of NDRF.
- Source of finance: The NDRF is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill.
- The requirement for funds beyond what is available under the NDRF is met through general budgetary resources.
- NCCD: The NDRF also draws a part of its fund through direct transfer of the National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) levied by the Centre on certain goods such as tobacco, tobacco products and petroleum products.
- In 2020/21, the government has budgeted Rs 2,930 for transfer to the NDRF through the NCCD.
What is Disaster?
- The DM Act defines "disaster" to mean ‘a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.'
- NDRF is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation.
- Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, provisions for such donations had not been made.
Significance of the decision
This is a significant development at a time when many have expressed concerns about donations sent to the PM CARES Fund or the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, as both claim they are not public authorities subject to questions under the Right to Information Act.