Re: It's time the government shut the foreign-funds tap for NGOs
Dear All Readers,
I went through the core proposition of Prof. R. Vaidyanathan and followed by feedbacks and comments.
As we all know well that NGOs are not here to substitute the Government, but to enable the poor, marginalized, deprived and excluded sections of the population to assert their rights collectively for the assertion of their rights and entitlements and to bridge up the long-existing gaps between the government and the people. The 3A factors are the major stumbling blocks for the poor community: availability, accessibility and affordability factors.
The pornography of poverty should be measured on these scales rather than clubbing together the external funding with other religious and cultural dimensions. There is no doubt facts behind what have been stated. But we the people working in NGO sector need to introspect ourselves. Are we transparent and accountable in our approach and attitude towards the community that we work with? Do people use RTI to question us about the sources and quantum of funds that we receive either from internal sources or from external agencies? Are our people really capacitated enough to question the NGO about the use of those funds received? Are we open to community monitoring about our accounts?
Mere making a provision by the Government to shut the foreign-funds tap for NGOs might not solve the problem. On the other hand, Foreign Contribution REGULATORY Act (FCRA) is a regulatory mechanism available with the Home Ministry of Govt.of India to check and measure the sources of funds received by different NGOs. We also know well that what have been the approach and attitude of the Public Authorities towards NGOs and what types of corruptions take place for sanction of a project by any Government Department.
To cut the long story short, I must state that, foreign funding to religious organizations may be restricted or totally arrested, and for that matter the NGOs those are working on religious lines,overtly or covertly, having foreign grants may be kept under serious and critical surveillance and regular scrutiny of their activities by the vigilance department. But arresting the foreign funds for all NGOs, for me, will not be a just and genuine proposition. There could be an unending debate on this.But in a globalization era and with open-market system, we all need to give a serious thought to the proposal extended by Prof. Vaidyanathan
Unless corruptions at the higher level and the people in power structure at all levels cannot be combated, the situation will remain the same as it has been for more than last six decades after independence. Bi-Lateral and Multi-Lateral agencies are having their offices located in almost all the states in India. They are receiving funds from external sources and are treating funds-starving NGOs as their petty contractors.The people working in those agencies getting paid in lakhs (without any tax being paid to government) sitting in AC rooms as if representatives of the colonial agents. Have we ever given any thoughts to it? How much they receive and spend within a year and what types of qualitative and tangible changes they bring in through their interventions in the lives and livelihoods of the people that they claim to work with / for.
Well, we can stop receiving the foreign funds making government provisions for NGOs, but would it be possible in our part to stop 'Hawla' money coming into India? With all probability, many organizations and agencies run their business, in plea of socio-economic sector development using 'Hawla' money. There are lots of inherent dynamics behind the scene. Those need to be studied and exposed. Mere focusing on NGOs may not solve the deep-rooted problems that the entire country has been encountering for decades.
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