NEW DELHI: The government has decided to accept contributions from abroad to a fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the country, a decision that marks a shift from earlier position of not accepting foreign donations to deal with domestic crisis.

Government sources said a decision was taken to accept contributions from abroad to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES) to deal with the pandemic.

“In view of the interest expressed to contribute to 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,” said a source.

It said the fund was set up following spontaneous requests from India and abroad for making generous contributions to support the government in its fight against COVID-19.

On Saturday, Modi announced setting up of the PM CARES fund. The prime minister is the chairman of the trust and its members include the defence minister, the home minister and the finance minister.

Political leaders, corporates, defence personnel, employees of PSUs such as Railways and Bollywood personalities were among a cross-section of organisations and people who have announced their contribution to the fund.

All officials of the external affairs ministry are also donating a day’s salary while some of them are voluntarily donating more, said an official.

The Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force as well as employees of the Defence Ministry have decided to donate one day’s salary totalling around Rs 500 crore.

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