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6 min read

Jul 24, 2020

July 24, 2020

Dear NRIs, Help India Fight COVID-19

Donate to the PM CARES fund and help India fight the pandemic

👋Hey, Varun here. I'm the co-founder of OnJuno, a cross border banking platform for immigrants in the US. I'm currently in Bangalore, India working from home just like you. India is now at an extremely critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19 pandemic. It's time for us to contribute to the fight against this invisible enemy.

From today, you and all Indians living abroad can donate directly to the PM-Cares Fund and help India fight COVID-19.

The Government of India led by Prime Minister Modi has taken unprecedented steps to curb the spread of Coronavirus in India from social distancing measures with the 21 Day country wide lockdown to ramping up testing and quarantine facilities across the country. There is still a long way to go and we have an opportunity to contribute to these efforts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to contribute generously to the PM-CARES fund. The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic in India with Prime Minister Modi as the Chairman of the trust. The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.

How to donate online from abroad?

Here are the details of where and how you can make donations to the PM-CARES fund from abroad as an NRI. Go to PM Cares official website: pmcares.gov.in

Step 1: Select your payment method Credit/Debit card or Wire Transfer/SWIFT

Step 2: Enter your Name, Address, Identity Card and Donation Amount and complete the payment. In case you have any questions you can the FAQs page on PM Cares website.

The donations will be tax exempt and fall under corporate social responsibility. PM CARES Fund has got exemption under the FCRA and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened. This enables PM CARES Fund to accept donations and contributions from individuals and organisations based in foreign countries.

This is the first time NRIs can contribute

For the first time, the government has decided to accept contributions from abroad to a Government led Fund, a decision that marks a shift from earlier position of not accepting foreign donations to deal with domestic crisis. This is in response to the overwhelming interest expressed for making generous contributions towards the Government's efforts, as well as keeping in mind the unprecedented nature of the pandemic. The Prime Minister said that the PMO had received many requests to help in the war against COVID-19.

Let's take a moment to realise that India is home to 1.3 Billion people. 450 million Indians (or roughly 90 percent of the workforce) are still in the unorganised economy. Most of them are daily wagers, construction workers, street vendors and the homeless. India also has a large floating population of migrant workers who have migrated from their villages to cities in search of job opportunities (estimated to be about 120 million) who earn less than Rs 10,000 per month. As an NRI, if you earn more than $5,000 a month, you are in the top 0.1% of Indians. You are special.

A widespread COVID-19 pandemic reaching our towns and villages will be catastrophic and push the country's growth trajectory back by over 2 decades. We are still a developing nation with many Indians still living in poverty and a medical infrastructure which will be incapable of handling the sheer number of COVID-19 cases at the peak. Currently, 5734 active COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country and the pandemic has claimed 166 lives. The time to act is now.

We are all in this together

  1. Various personalities like Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, Azim Premji, Akshay Kumar and many more have extended financial aid to the government.
  2. Political leaders, corporates, defence personnel, employees of PSUs such as Railways have also announced their contribution to the fund.
  3. All officials of the external affairs ministry are also donating a day's salary while some of them are voluntarily donating more.
  4. 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.

Team OnJuno has joined this fight

  1. The entire OnJuno team has also voluntarily contributed one day's salary to PM-Cares Fund or organisations dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. One of our team members - Niket Satoskar has helped build coronatracker.in which is being used by millions of Indians to track cases across the country.

Other Charities you can donate from abroad

The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent 21 Day Lockdown has displaced millions of migrant workers and most daily wage workers are suffering due to huge job losses. Here are some charities where you can donate who are helping this vulnerable section and healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines:

1. Give India

GiveIndia is a non profit organisation in India. It is an online donation platform and aims to channel and provide resources to credible non-governmental organisations across India. As a web portal, it helps raise funds and contributions from individuals across India and the world and then disburses these donations to credible Indian NGOs. Donate to Give India: indiafightscorona.giveindia.org

We at GiveIndia are deeply concerned about the plight of the underprivileged and have been listening to all our partner nonprofits working in the frontline, trying to respond to the needs of disadvantaged communities at this unprecedented time.

2. SEEDS India

SEEDS is reaching out to economically vulnerable people in partnership with Government of India and state governments of Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttarakhand in India. They are working in close coordination with Governments to respond to the physical health, mental health and economic impacts of the pandemic. Donate to SEEDS India: seedsindia.org/covid19

(Credit Card Accepted)

SEEDS is committed in reaching out and supporting these invisible individuals – the elderly, children, and frontline health workers of the communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak in their time of need. Together, we will overcome this pandemic by making sure the most vulnerable among us are protected

3. CAF India

CAF India is a registered charitable trust set up in 1998 to provide strategic and management support to corporates, individuals and NGOs with an aim to ensure greater impact of their philanthropic and CSR investments. Charities Aid Foundation is a leading international not-for-profit organisation, which works to make giving more effective and charities more successful. CAF India is part of an international network with offices in nine countries. Donate to CAF India: give4good.org.in/covid-19-donate

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Support Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India to raise resources for immediate prevention response to curb the community transmission of the virus. Through our network of NGOs, we are capable of reaching out to millions of at risk vulnerable population especially the elderly, people with low immunity, people with is disabilities, daily wage labourers and children who are in urgent need of accurate information, screening and testing, counselling support and hygiene kits.

About OnJuno

OnJuno, a fintech startup, is a cross-border neo banking platform for immigrants in the US. It enables customers to save more with a high yield checking account, upto 5% cash back on debit card and 8x cheaper remittances compared to the largest banks. With the Fed cutting interest rate to lowest in a decade, you can lock your rate for the year and earn between 1.15-2.15% on your OnJuno checking account. You can signup and lock your rate for the year at onjuno.com


Varun Deshpande
Varun is the co-founder of OnJuno, a cross border neo bank. A serial entrepreneur with experience in financial services. He writes often about financial inclusion and freedom.

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