Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sending FC-6 by Post

FC-6 should be filed online if you can login and have a good internet connection. If not, please file your FC-6 by registered post. Filing online is not compulsory yet.

Send your FC-6 to by registered post to:
The Secretary,
Ministry of Home Affairs,
Foreigners Division,
NDCC-II Building Jai Singh Road, OFF Parliament Street, Near Jantar Mantar
New Delhi-110 001

Don't forget to write 'For FCRA Wing' on the envelope. Always keep a copy of the covering letter, complete set and the postal receipt.

You can also check delivery of your FC-6 letter at Take a print of the delivery track and keep it on file. Just in case.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Linking businesses and NGOs for CSR

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ notice last year directing companies to partner with NGOs for their CSR efforts requires companies to choose partners carefully, while NGOs must focus on monitoring and other requirements—so both sides are trying to address gaps and work with each other’s strengths

The interaction between Indian corporations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) increased after the Indian Companies Act of 2013 was passed. In a notice published by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, companies were directed to work with partners (specifically, NGOs) who have “an established track record of three years in undertaking similar programs or projects.”

The CSR departments of some large companies have, since then, reportedly received a tremendous influx of appeals from NGOs for partnerships. However, companies have to choose partners wisely in order to ensure that their money is well spent.

The process of choosing an NGO partner typically involves a screening process. This can include a credibility test, a field visit, and background checks. It may also involve using the expertise of a CSR consulting firm. Many companies require NGOs to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) before entering into a partnership, and they also require monthly or annual impact assessment reports from the NGO. While these activities are essential to ensure that the NGO is reputable, it is also a financial burden for the companies as well as the NGOs. To avoid these additional costs, many companies involved in partnerships prior to the Act are simply strengthening those existing ties.

An important concern for companies is finding an organisation that has the appropriate amount of resources, knowledge, and capacity. As the Act pertains to large corporations, it follows that they are primarily looking to match up with large NGOs that fit this description. Working with reputable NGOs eliminates the worry of malpractice, while also providing a way to channel the majority of their funds and efforts.

What are the implications of this change for NGOs? Companies are demanding high standards from NGOs, especially in project monitoring. This means NGOs may have to devote more time to monitoring their projects rather than carrying them out. A Yes Bank CSR representative points out: “NGOs…don’t have the capacity or the priority to communicate and provide reporting to all the corporates that support them.” Their work is thus either diluted, or NGOs with limited human resources are not able to gain the credibility needed to hold on to partnerships. A CSR representative from Hindustan Petroleum points out that this limits the ability of grassroots organisations to gain momentum since they are not able to scale up or gain the requisite experience.

The choice companies have to make of whether to focus CSR efforts on output or outcome adds tension to the relationship. Output focuses on numbers: it is what companies put in their brochures to advertise the amount of people reached. Outcome is the long-term and lasting change created. Based on our analysis of nearly 200 companies, corporations are trending towards a focus on output rather than outcome.

In order to shift the focus, corporations and NGOs must work more collaboratively. To do so, corporates could increase the quantum of employee engagement in CSR efforts. The GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, for example, added employee’s CSR involvement to their performance reports. So far, however, this has not been a focus for most companies.

Increasing the role employees play in CSR efforts will ingrain the value of social responsibility in the company rather than it being treated as a separate unit. It will also allow for an exchange of skills between corporates and NGOs. Working with each other’s strengths and fostering a sense of shared responsibility can shift the focus to outcome rather than output.


Government is likely to make further ammendents in the Companies Act

NEW DELHI: Government is likely to make further amendments in the Companies Act along with changes in certain rules as part of its efforts to provide more clarity on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions.

A government-appointed high level panel recently submitted recommendations on CSR norms to the Corporate Affairs Ministry, which is implementing the Act.

Under the Companies Act, 2013, certain class of profitable entities are required to shell out at least 2 per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards CSR activities. These provisions came into force from April 2014.

Sources said an action taken report has been prepared on the recommendations made by the panel. The report has been cleared by Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley.

For further action on the panel's suggestions, the ministry is looking at various options, including possible amendments to the Companies Act, they added.

Changes would be made to certain rules related to CSR activities apart from coming out with clarifications through circulars, sources said.

While amendments to the Act need to be cleared by Parliament, rules can be changed by the ministry itself

Amid concerns over certain provisions in the new Act, the ministry had set up the committee in June this year. The panel is expected to finalise its report by December-end.

The panel, chaired by former Home Secretary Anil Baijal, was tasked to make suggestions for improved monitoring of CSR spending

"Reference to 'any financial year' in Section 135(1) of the Act, needs to be re-examined by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs with a view to making necessary amendment(s) either in Section 135(1) or in the relevant rule," the panel said.

Besides, it has called for clarification with regard to the definition of the term 'net profit' used for deciding CSR spending criteria.

Section 135 of the Act pertains to CSR.

Among others, the committee had said differential tax treatment for expenditure on various CSR activities may create unforeseen distortion in allocation of funds across development sectors.

At present, certain activities such as contribution to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund qualify for tax exemption.

Already, the ministry has made a raft of changes to the Companies Act, 2013 -- whose most provisions came into effect from April 1, 2014. Besides, various rules have been amended.

As per the Companies Law Committee's terms of reference, it would also examine the recommendations received from the Bankruptcy Law Reforms committee, Committee on CSR, Law Commission and other agencies

Read more at:

Friday, October 23, 2015

RFP for Vocational Training Agencies under Integrated Livelihood Support Project, Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand Gramya Vikas Samiti (UGVS) is implementing Integrated Livelihood Support Project (ILSP) in 9 districts of Uttarakhand. UGVS is in the process of empaneling competent Vocational Training Agencies to execute specific assignments on Vocational Training subcomponent as required by the project. Please find below the advertisement. Click here to download RFP & EOI VTP -Annex-I – II.

RPF & EOI Download link :

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

FCRA Renewal – No Response?

FCRA registrations granted before May-11 will expire on 30-Apr-16. FCRA rules call on NGOs to file their renewal application 6-12 months in advance. Therefore, many NGOs have already applied for renewal using paper FC-5. FCRA Department is trying to move this process online since Jun’15, when draft rules were announced. Therefore, the paper applications have not been processed so far.

People who have already filed paper FC-5 should now wait till they hear from FCRA Department. If the Department asks them to file the application again online, then that’s what they should do.


- FCRA: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 - Applicable in India


FCRA Renewal – Not Filed Yet?

What about people who’ve not filed their FC-5 yet? They have two options:

1. Wait for the online forms to be announced and then file the application

2. File a paper application in FC-5, just in case..

Which one should you choose? Do a quick check on your risk appetite.

- If you ALWAYS wear a seat belt while driving, file the FC-5 before the October’15 deadline.

- If you don’t mind texting while walking or climbing stairs, then relax. Just enjoy the festive season!


- FCRA: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 - Applicable in India


Thursday, October 15, 2015

All FCRA NGOs Kindly develop your NGO Website, It's Mandatory for all FCRA Registered NGOs in India.

For More Please Visit:

Essay Writing Competition

Dear Resident,

You are invited to participate in the Essay Writing Competition for Smart City Bhubaneswar- ESSAY COMPETITION “MY CITY MY DREAM”: SMART CITY BHUBANESWAR and win exciting prices up to Rs. 25,000.

Please visit the following link to submit your entries.

follow us at :

For more information please visit our website:
Issued in public interest by BMC (Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fund crunch forces NGOs to quit HIV prevention project

An acute fund crunch has led to some NGOs walking out of the HIV prevention programme and the ones that continue to provide interventions are struggling to make ends meet. “We have not paid salaries to as many as 63 peer educators who reach out to the high risk group of sex workers and others creating awareness about HIV and giving condoms since April,” says Seema Waghmode, in-charge of the Targetted Intervention (TI) project at Kayakalp.

Kayakalp is among one of the 17 NGOs in Pune district authorised by the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) to provide targetted interventions. In Pune city, Kayakalp provides interventions to more than 1,000 female sex workers at Budhwar Peth. “We have two projects and the supply of at least 3 lakh condoms has dried up since long,” Waghmode added.

The Samapathik Trust, coordinated by Bindumadhav Khire, which provided interventions to men having sex with men and other high risk groups has shut shop due to lack of funds. 

Kalyani Patil, Pune district programme officer of MSACS admitted that there has been a severe fund crunch and huge delay in sending instalments to NGOs conducting TI projects. Out of 17 NGOs, at least four have quit the project, while others are barely managing by taking bank loans to pay the salaries of their shoe-string staff. 

Condom, ART drug shortage 

As against more than two lakh condoms required every month for TI projects and Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) in Pune, the supply has been inadequate for the last few months. At some Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) centres like in Ahmednagar, NGOs like Snehalaya have to spend Rs 3,000 every day in procuring Nevirapine drug for 20 HIV positive children since the last six days. Kalyani Patil too admitted that there is a shortage but authorities try to procure the drugs from other states. Instead of a month’s supply, the patient is then given free drugs only to last for 10 days. 

When contacted , National Health Mission Director for Maharashtra, IA Kundan, who has been given additional charge of MSACS project director, assured that the crisis would be met soon as the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has released an instalment of Rs 20 crore. “They have also assured supply of condoms by October-end,” Kundan said.

Meanwhile, Patil said that the Pune Municipal Corporation’s AIDS control society has helped provide condoms to tide over the current crisis. 

Now lab technicians, counsellors agitate 

Adding to the impasse is also a non-cooperation agitation across the state from October 1 by over 2,000 laboratory technicians and counsellors working at ICTCs and ART centres. In Pune, Sandeep Kulte, president of the district unit of Maharashtra state AIDS control employees association, said that there are 42 ICTCs in Pune and six ART and 12 link ART centres. “For the last two years, we have not received arrears and now while services are being provided to the patients, we have stopped sending data and information about them to the government,” Kulte said. 

Lens on NGOs in China and India

Resolve to curtail NGOs’ clout stems from economic resurgence

If one goes by accounts in the global media, the two most populous nations on earth have virtually declared a war on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Governments in both China and India are getting wary of the influence of NGOs and non-profits to such an extent that they are using legislative means to curb their activities and have gone after their sources of funding.

“Black” law

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has put forth new norms that bar Chinese NGOs from receiving foreign funding. The law will roll out stringent rules for foreign NGOs working in the People’s Republic.

‘The Economist’ has reported that all foreign NGOs in China will need an “official sponsor” and register with the ministry of public security, which is the main police authority in China. Earlier the ministry of civil affairs dealt with regulation governing NGOs. According to some media reports, NGOs will have to submit their activity plan for the coming year to their official sponsor.

This is not some routine bureaucratic shuffle, it gives us a prelude to the thinking of the CPC. NGO workers fear that the moves are designed to weed out organizations, which may be “inconvenient to the Party”. The legislation’s ambit is so sweeping that it encompasses even the activities of foreign academics addressing a Chinese varsity, overseas cultural troupes and trade associations, say the critics.

In an interview with Reuters, Jia Xijin, professor of civil society at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, said the law is a response to the fear of “colour revolutions” – popular uprisings that occurred in former Soviet states -and the Jasmine Revolution, pro-democracy agitations that were snuffed out in Chinese cities in 2011.

Close to a thousand NGOs operate in the Middle Kingdom but Beijing is not keen on having non-profits that champion workers’ rights. According to Reuters, NGO representatives who “subvert state power”, or ” provide financial assistance for political activities” can be detained for up to 15 days, fined up to 300,000 yuan and investigated for “criminal liability”. Recrimination from the West was swift. The European Union expressed its anxiety that the laws would give law-enforcement officials wide-ranging authority to “micro-manage” foreign NGOs and non-profits.

No-aid policy

According a paper presented by the Washington University, after the formation of the People’s Republic in 1949, the Chinese government outlawed most religious organizations, professional societies and labour unions. In this process, foreign NGOs were compelled to leave China. In fact Chairman Mao had contempt for foreign aid, so much so that when millions perished in famines resulting from his disastrous policies he resisted moves to covet assistance from abroad. In contrast, socialists in India, who opposed foreign trade and liberalization, never had any issue with ‘largesse’ from abroad.

In China, since the opening up of economy in the late 1970s under Mao’s successors, the government adopted a more malleable approach towards social organizations, which resulted in an initial emergence of NGOs.

In the 1990s, the government put a new focus on the state’s withdrawal from society. The theme, as advertised by the Chinese government, was “small government, big society.” The number of non-profits, including foreign NGOs, started to increase dramatically during this period, especially after China hosted the fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the paper states.

Campaign against volunteers

However in recent years, charity groups are under the scanner. In December 2014, China arrested a staffer of an American NGO, Peter Hahn (75), due to his “activities helping North Koreans” along the border with the Hermit Kingdom. Hahn’s trial began in July and while most charges have been dropped, he faces a trivial charge of “counterfeiting receipts”, which means he may get a two-year prison term, if convicted.

In June this year, a report in ‘Radio Free Asia’ said that the authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong detained activists from an NGO on charges of “illegal business activity” Guo Bin, who heads the disability advocacy group Zhongyixing in the southern city of Shenzhen, and health rights campaigner Yang Zhanqing are facing the heat.

India tightens norms

In India, Priya Pillai from an environmental group was stopped at Delhi airport on January 11 while heading to UK to speak on the alleged violation of rights of tribals in Madhya Pradesh. The authorities later said that her name was in a database of persons who were not allowed to leave the country. In September this year, Economic Times reported that the Union home ministry had suspended the registration of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.

In May 2015, the home ministry put Ford Foundation on its watchlist because funds that were being credited to Indian NGOs were not registered. In June, the permits of more than 4,000 NGOs were annulled by the Centre. Under new rules, every NGO will have to put out details on its website within a week of getting foreign contribution of any value while banks will have to report all such receipts to the government within 48 hours of the offshore transfer.

Critics in both nations have slammed the moves as draconian and said it stems from a desire to “throttle civil liberties”. While the jury is still out on whether or not the regimes have any ulterior motives. It seems the impulses may be from the economic resurgence in China and India. China’s president Xi Jinping talks about the ‘Chinese dream’ that envisages national rejuvenation, improvement of people’s livelihoods, prosperity, construction of a better society and a strengthened military.

India is keen to shed its “begging-bowl” tag. India’s Narendra Modi talks of ‘acche din’ that paint a picture of a ‘superpower’ with bullet trains, hi-speed highways and its knowledge economy at the core. In the larger scheme of things superpower talk and a ‘”poverty expo in backyard” don’t gel. NGOs seem to be bearing the brunt of the image makeover.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.


Monday, October 12, 2015

INVITATION: From Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha - Conference on Old Age Security in India.

Dear Madam / Sir,

We are pleased to invite you to the conference, 'From Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha - Conference on Old Age Security in India', on 19 October, 2015 at Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

The Hon'ble Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, has kindly agreed to deliver the Inaugural address.

The conference is co-hosted by HelpAge India and GIZ, Germany's federal enterprise for international cooperation and development. It aims to discuss challenges in India related to demographic change and social security for its ageing population, and shall bring together decision makers from the government, private sector, civil society and other institutions working in this area.

Click here to view the concept note. To download draft agenda of the conference click here. We very much hope that you will attend this event and look forward to your active role at the conference.

To confirm your participation, kindly send an email at or call on +91 11 2460 3832, Extn. 227.

Yours sincerely,

Helmut Hauschild                                
Indo-German Social Security Programme,

Mathew Cherian
Chief Executive Officer, 
HelpAge India

Home ministry now all set to become friendly with NGOs

From targeting them for violation of foreign funding rules to helping them by giving online space on the ministry’s website to put up details of their foreign funding, the Union home ministry has come full circle on non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“We are in the process of amending the Foreign Contribution Regulation (FCR) rules that govern foreign funding of NGOs. Under the amended rules, all NGOs need to have websites. In case an NGO doesn’t have one, we will provide them space on the ministry’s foreigner division’s website to put up details of their funding and expenditure. We will provide them password-protected login names,” said a home ministry official.

The NGOs will have to upload a quarterly report of their funding and expenditure on their website or on the space given to them on the ministry’s website. The ministry also deliberated on asking all office-bearers of FCRA-registered NGOs to provide details of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. “The idea was to keep a tab on their social media profiles. But it was dropped,” said the official.

The ministry is taking everything online with regard to registration of NGOs to get foreign funding by the end of this month.

But the proposed rules have also come under criticism. “Several NGOs work in remote areas without proper Internet access. The ministry needs to look at the availability of infrastructure before going ahead with the online process. I would suggest it continue with submission of hard copies as well,” said Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Govt of India order "prohibits" foreign-funded NGO trustees to work as independent mediapersons

By Rajiv Shah 

It is now official. In what may be interpreted as yet another attack on the free functioning of non-government organizations (NGOs) in India, the Government of India has expressed the view, in black and white, that the trustees of society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and receiving foreign contribution under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), cannot be allowed to work as independent mediapersons. 

This has come to light in one of the several objections raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India, regarding reasons given to prominent human rights activist Teesta Setalvad on why MHA has decided to suspend FCRA license of Sabrang Trust, which she heads along with her husband, Javed Anand.

The MHA objection, in its order dated September 9, 2015, quotes the FCRA, 2010 to say that trustee of such an NGO is “prohibited” to be a “correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, owner, printer or publisher or owner”.

Referring to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand as “chief functionary/trustee” of Sabrang Trust, the MHA letter says, during investigations it was found that they also worked as “directors, co-editors, printers and publishers in a company, namely, Sabrang Communications and Publishers Pvt Ltd (SCPPL)”, and “published a magazine called 'Communalism Combat'.” 

Anand and Setalvad left their jobs as Mumbai-based journalists in the mainstream press and founded "Communalism Combat" in 1993 to fight religious intolerance and communal violence. Their decision followed the December 1992 destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by Hindu fundamentalists. Communalism Combat first appeared in August 1993.

The objection further goes on to suggest: Not only do both of them own “Communalism Combat”, which has been registered under the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867, with the registration number being RNI No MAHEG/1993-1148, they have done a "crime" of writing in different newspapers, too. 

The order, raising the objection in black and white, says, “Further, both (Setalvad and Anand) from time to time keep writing various articles in newspapers and magazines”, adding, “As per the provisions of the … FCRA, 2010 they are completely prohibited to take foreign contribution from foreign source”, if they do it, calling this as violation of Section 3 (1) (b) and (h) of the Act. 

Setalvad and Anand are not only chief functionaries and trustees of Sabrang Trust, which has been receiving foreign contribution under the FCRA. They are also journalists, as co-editors of “Communalism Combat”, published by a company. 

In fact, Setalvad, as journalist, recently conducted a series interviews for “Communalism Combat” and Hillele TV, a blog, with several personalities, including prominent historian Prof Romila Thapar, well-known rural expert and journalist P Sainath, film director Hansal Mehta, CPI-M leader Brinda Karat, ex-topcop Julio Robeiro, among others. 

On the other hand, as a social activist, Setalvad, it is well known, has been fighting a legal battle against the Gujarat government for filing a first information report (FIR) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged participation in the 2002 anti-minority riots in Gujarat. Her legal interventions have already helped bring to books more than 100 persons responsible for perpetrating the riots.
In the reply dated October 5 to the MHA order barring foreign contribution to Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust, Javed Anand, who is its secretary and chief functionary, has said, while the trust is not allowed to “bring out any publication (registered under the PRB Act, 1867) or act as correspondent, columnist, editor, printer and publisher or a publisher or a registered newspaper”, as required by the FCRA, how can the same standard be applied to the SCPPL, which is an independent company?
In fact, Anand insists in his letter to the MHA, there cannot be any “restriction or prohibition” on any of the board members or office bearers of the Sabrang Trust to be “publishers, editors, printers, etc. of a registered newspaper by some other independent legal entity.” 

In fact, he quotes FCRA's Section 4 to say that the trustees or office bearers, even as acting as journalists or publishers of a newspaper, can even continue to draw “salary, wages, or other renumeration due to him or to any group of persons working under him from any source by way of payment in the ordinary way of business transacted in India by … foreign source.”


Monday, October 5, 2015

Modi government to ease foreign funding rules for NGOs

NEW DELHI: NGOs, many of which have faced strong scrutiny from the Modi government, are about to get abreak - the amended Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR), 2015 will give the Intelligence Bureau no more than three months for verification, and if an IB clearance doesn't come within that period, the NGO will be automatically granted an FCRA licence.

The new rules will also simplify the system for seeking approvals for utilisation of foreign contributions. Online filing of information, and fewer forms for registration and renewal are among the proposed new rules designed to reduce bureaucratic hassle for NGOs. An authorised NGO representative will file a digitally signed report to the government.

Top home ministry officials told ET these rules will soon be notified. These officials spoke on the condition they not be identified. They said the easing of rules is both a response to complaints as well as an attempt by the government to present a softer face to NGOs.

Prominent NGOs like Greenpeace and Ford Foundation faced government action, with Greenpeace losing its registration. That government move has for now been stayed by the Madras high court. And Sabrang Trust, an NGO run by Teesta Setalvad, is under CBI investigation for alleged violation of FCRA rules. Ford Foundations was one of the donors to Sabrang. A home ministry official said there are many complaints from NGOs on the delay in granting FCRA licences.

"On an average there was a delay of more than 1 year from the date of application by NGO as the process requires a detailed scrutiny of records. To overcome this, we are going to set a deadline of 3 months for IB...failing which the permission will be granted," this official told ET.

The home ministry consulted several NGOs on proposed amendments in rules, officials said. Under the new rules, NGOs will have to state whether they have a particular religious affiliation - Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist etc. Other categories for NGOs are cultural, economic, educational and social.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

NITI Ayog launches portal for NGOs

All NGOs are requested to keep their profiles updated

NITI Ayog has developed NGO partnership system (NGO-PS) portal to facilitate voluntary organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to register with the government. They would have to sign up on NGO-PS portal of the Ayog at htt:// They will have to use unique ID for funding for 2015-16. The Central government would consider the proposals received from them for the year 2015-16.


VOs/NGOs need unique ID from NGO-PS for funding 2015-16

The Volungary Organisations (VOs) /Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who got the unique IDfrom NGO-PS are eligible for funding for 2015-16. The Union Government will consider the proposals receivedfrom VOs/NGOs only from those who have unique ID No for theyear 2015-16, Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare PrincipalSecretary Dr a Vidyasagar said in a statement here today. The NITI Ayog (erstwhile Planning Commission of India)has developed 'NGO Partnership System (NGO-PS) portal. The portal facilitates the VOs/NGOs during theirinteraction with the Government in connection with requestsfor Government Grants under various schemes of theparticipating Ministries/Departments. The portal also helps to create a data base of existingVOs/NGOs and to access information on various schemes of theparticipating Ministries/Departments open for grants and theMinistry of Tribal Affairs is also one of the participating Ministries. For this, the Voluntary Organisations / Non-GovernmentalOrganizations are required to sign up (one time) on thisNGO-PS portal of the Aayog at htt:// After signing up with the portal, an Unique ID No. willbe shown and the VOs/NG0s, have to note the same for futureguidance, the statement added.UNI VV AKM AY AE AN1913


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Utkal Alumina bags IDA Award-2015 for Excellence in CSR in Education

Rayagada, Sep 17: Utkal Alumina International Ltd.(UAIL), a part of Birla Group of Companies at Doraguda, Tikiri, Kashipur has been conferred with prestigious and coveted IDA Award-2015 for Excellence in CSR in Education – providing access to quality education for underprivileged class of society, at an all India level competition.

‘IDA Awards’ is a presentation of India Didactics Association, the premier trade association for the Indian Education and Training fraternity engaged in improving learning and teaching. Facilitating Inspiration, Knowledge-Sharing and Experience in Innovative Solutions and Practices, the IDA Awards celebrate and reward excellence in educational products, resources and services among the education and training fraternity.

In all, twenty eight companies pan India participated in this competition in the category of CSR in Education and out of which, four Corporates viz., Utkal Alumina, Hero Motor Corp, Dabur India, Essar Group reached finalists stage and were invited to participate in the Awards function on 10th September, 2015 at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Bengaluru. At a glittering ceremony graced by a large number of National and International delegates, Utkal Alumina was adjudged as the Winner of the Award.

The Trophy along with a Certificate of Award was received by Sri M.Ramesh Kumar, Sr. Vice President (HR, Admn., & CSR) and Sri Siba Mahapatra, AGM (CSR) from the Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Thneibat.

Utkal Alumina’s entry came in for a lot of appreciation by the juries, wherein a very comprehensive coverage about Utkal’s various educational & vocational training initiatives for the underprivileged class of society was showcased viz., setting up an ITI at Kashipur and providing artisan training to the nominees from Displaced & Pr oject Affected persons, imparting vocational training to locals and thereby providing employable skills, offering employment to most of these trained artisans and transforming them into a productive workforce, initiatives in delivering quality education through Aditya Birla Public School, setting up Balwadi Centres & Adult Education Centres in the periphery of UAIL, supplementing teachers in Govt. Schools in the company’s vicinity, etc.

From a humble beginning made 5 years ago when UAIL started its CSR initiatives in the remote corner of Orissa in right earnest (from ground Zero) and now taking it to a recognition at a national level, Utkal Alumina has come a long way and it’s indeed an incredible journey for Utkal fraternity. This has been possible with the keen effort of the Utkal CSR team under the leadership of Sri Ramesh Kumar who pioneered the CSR work in a sustainable manner.


Ministers urge India Inc to help NGOs transform social sector

NEW DELHI: Key policymakers have urged the country's corporates to work with committed social organisations to help transform the country's social sector and not restrict themselves to mandatory CSR spending.

"In country like India, the role of businesses is not just profit making or creating job," minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said on Monday. "Their true potential could be met only if they became as a force for good in society," he said at the launch of the Economic Times CSR Compendium.

"Workforce of companies should become valuable resources for assisting NGOs and government," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that if the management of India Inc and commitment of social activists were pooled together, it could truly transform the social sector of the country. "Companies need to use their resources more efficiently for the larger good of society. There's a need to combine money and management to make the real change," he said.

The Economic Times CSR Compendium is an initiative of Times CSR, a vertical of the Times Group.

Its launch marks the completion of one year of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) regime in India, which was introduced through the Companies Act, 2013. Under the CSR norms, companies with net worth of more than Rs 500 crore or revenues of over Rs 1,000 crore or a net profit of more than Rs 5 crore need to spend 2% of their three-year average annual net profit on CSR activities in each financial year, starting from 2014-15.

Sectors that come under the ambit of CSR include rural development, education, contribution to the Prime Minister's relief fund, Swatch Bharat fund, Clean Ganga fund, promotion of sports, art and culture, and providing basic healthcare. The two ministers said companies should do more than that to help the country overcome its social challenges.

"The corporates have to push the envelope for social responsibility," Sinha said. "Businesses must create shared value in the society. Companies like Tata have done it in Jamshedpur." He said companies putting in world class environmental standards also count as social responsibility.

The minister said India lacks trained manpower in the field of urban development, education and healthcare and it should be the responsibility of Indian corporates to provide the assistance of their highly trained manpower for uplifting these sectors.

"In US there is service corps or volunteers who assist these institutions. We could have the same in India. There's a need to bring managerial quality of corporate sector to social sector," Sinha said.

As per the Companies Act, companies have to set up a separate governance framework for CSR including a CSR committee. The government has set up a six-member high level panel to suggest steps for improved monitoring of social welfare activities done by them under the Companies Act. The panel is expected to submit its report next month.

Read more at:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New digital platform to empower NGOs

The newly launched domain will address issue of trust deficit

In an atmosphere of increased negative focus on non-governmental organisations, members of around 100 different NGOs attended the South India launch of an exclusive domain ‘.ngo’ for NGOs at Puducherry on Wednesday. The new domain is expected to address the crucial issue of trust deficit.

Earlier launched in U.S.

The domain was launched in US earlier this year by the Public Interest Registry, which is the registry for the .org and .ong domains.

In India, it is being introduced by the Digital Empowerment Foundation, which works to bridge the digital divide through its eNGO Programme for NGOs in India, South Asia and Africa. The domain had a national launch in July in New Delhi.

The .ngo domain is unique as it can be used by verified and registered NGOs alone, after a stringent validation process. For the first time, a domain address cannot simply be bought.

Addressing representatives of the NGOs at the launch, Osama Manzar, founder, Digital Empowerment Foundation, said, “NGOs must have a face on the internet to increase visibility for the hard work that is done. This will help you raise the required funds.” In a sense, this would be a cleaning up of the NGO world, he said. Jeri Curry, CEO, Enset, the non-profit domain registrar of PIR, said, “If you cannot be found, you cannot be part of the conversation.” Ms. Curry said that the need for an exclusive domain came from within the sector.

NGOs must consider switching to the domain because it is validated, she said. “The .ngo domain says we are here, we can be found and we are credible. It raises visibility of the sector,” she said.

For NGOs to grow, it is important to keep up with the times, including becoming digitally equipped, said Anjali Schiavina, Chairperson, CII-Indian Women Network Puducherry and Managing Director, Mandala Apparels Pvt. Ltd., a social enterprise.

Amitabh Singhal, board member, Public Interest Registry, said that when .org was launched, it had automatically become the domain for all NGOs. There are around 10 million .org websites, he said. Getting the .ngo domain would provide a package of services, including ease of receiving donations with a ‘donation button’. “.ngo is a further validation of the good work you are doing,” he said.

Gayatri from the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs said that Rs. 20,000 crore was available for Corporate Social Responsibility funding and as per the Companies Act, 2013, a total of 16,000 companies have to set aside funds for CSR. She added that India was the first to mandate such a provision, and that the .ngo domain would address the trust deficit between corporates and NGOs.


Online submission of grant applications

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s online submission of applications for the financial year 2015-16 has been enabled /Open. NGOs are requested for submit their grant applications for 2015-16 now at: 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CM Naveen Patnaik to confer Think CSR & Think Odisha Leadership Awards 2015 on 14th August, 2015

Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: Tefla's in association with The Times of India is delighted to present the 8 th Edition of THINK CSR Forum on 14th August, 2015 at The Crown, Bhubaneswar. THINK FOUNDATION is the principal host to this event. The forum will draw on the experiences of CSR practitioners, CEOs and sustainability experts to give business rationale for an integrated CSR approach, providing specific examples of strategic initiatives that have enhanced business competitiveness, cultivated brand loyalty and built-up communities.

The Think CSR has the following primary purposes:

• To highlight innovative programs and best practices in CSR by Companies

• Promote CSR as a key strategy in addressing public needs and problems

• To showcase corporate innovation in CSR

• To promote new thinking and standards on CSR as strategy

• To build a network of CSR practitioners

Shri. Ashok Chandra Panda, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge), Tourism & Culture., Govt. of Odisha will be the Chief Guest during Think CSR Inaugural Ceremony on the morning of 14th August, 2015. The other invited eminent Speakers during the Business Sessions include: Prof. Dr. Ashok Sar, Dean, KIIT School of Management, Tara Ranjan Patnaik, Chairman and Director , Falcon Marine Exports Ltd., Rajesh Jha, CEO, CTL, Adani Mining Pvt. Ltd., Prashant Hota, VP - CSR, R&R and Corporate Communications, Jindal Steel & Power Limited, P. K. Sahoo, Chairman, CYSD, Dr Manjula Jagatramla, VAITARNA, Mumbai, Nilambar Rath, Editor, ETV News Odia, Bhavna Prasad, Sr. Advisor, Sustainable Business, WWF India, Dr. Choudhury Satyabrata Nanda, Eminent Doctor & Author, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Chairman, Eastern India Media Group, Dr. Piyush Ranjan Rout, Co Founder, Local Governance Network & Abhay Dwivedi, Trustee, THINK Foundation. And Senior Representatives from TATA Steel, NALCO, Bhushan Steel Limited & RSP (SAIL).

Think CSR & Think Odisha Leadership Awards At this year’s 8 th Annual Think CSR Awards on the evening of 14th August, 2015, we will celebrate and salute the resilience of companies that have not only weathered the financial storm but remained resolute in trying times, to continuously uphold the highest standard in CSR while developing innovative and sustainable solutions and products for greater profitability and improving the welfare of societies. Think Odisha – Leadership Awards in an attempt to recognize and honour individuals & organizations who have contributed consistently to the betterment of the state of Odisha through their pursuit of excellence. Award Categories are; Government – Society Interface; Business Leaders; Entertainment; Sports Person; Social Activist / Social Organization; Educationist / Educational Institute for Excellence; Environmentalist; Literature; Art / Culture; Life Time Achievement Award.

Awardees are selected by a very High Powered Jury comprising of: Shri Shudanshu Bhusan Mishra, IAS (Retd.), Chairperson, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha, Shri Gopala Chandra Nanda, IPS (Retd.), Former Director General of Police, Govt. of India, Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra, Architect and Sculptor, Shri Bijoy Mohanty, Actor, Dr. Pratibha Satpathy, Poet, Dr. Suryanarayan Mishra, Professor, Political Science, Shri. P K Sahoo, Chairman – CYSD, Shri Abhay Dwivedi, Trustee, Think Foundation, Gp Capt. K K Chanda (Retd.), & Kailash Singh, Managing Director - Tefla's, Chairman - Think Foundation.

Like earlier years, Shri. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha has been invited to be the Chief Guest during Think Odisha Award Ceremony. There will be a Special Performance by RITURAJ MOHANTY - WINNER OF INDIA’S RAW STAR during the Award Ceremony.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Online process applications portal for Government Grants for Indian NGOs

Social Justice and Empowerment online process portal for applications of NGOs is in operation since April 1, 2014 and NGOs are required to submit their applications for grants online, which is mandatory.

Apply grants at:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Invitation for NGO Accountants Network (NAN) - Regional Convention

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from FMSF!

Financial Management Service Foundation would like to invite you all to join our 7th Annual Regional NGO’s Accountant Network (NAN) Convention to be held at Bangalore, Karnataka on 24th & 25th August 2015. The venue for the convention will be:

United theological Centre,

63 Millers Road, Benson Town,

Bangalore, Karnataka

The NGO Accountants Network (NAN) is a network of Finance personnel and Accountants working in the development sector. It aims at providing a forum for mutual learning and growth. The objective of the network is to build a pool of expertise and sensitize on field level realities. NGO Accountants’ Network (NAN) is, therefore, formed with the following objectives:

· To build a pool of expertise

· To sensitize on the field realities

· To enable mutual learning

The 7th Regional NAN Convention will focus on the changing regulatory framework governing the voluntary sector. With changes both under FCRA and Income tax, this convention aims to create awareness and promote good practices in the area of financial management and compliances to various laws of the land.

The Convention will have highly experienced and skilled resource persons, who will be able to provide critical inputs on the subject matter. The convention will consist of Technical sessions with Plenary, Keynote and invited talks along with contributed presentations, queries and open discussions. We request you to kindly participate and register.

The brochure of the Convention is herewith attached. The participants who are interested to attend can register in the Registration form attached herewith and send the filled in form to my colleague Ms. Akrita Bharos (

Alternatively, you can also register online. For online registration click here.

We wish to see you at the 7th Annual Regional NAN Convention

Warm regards,

Sanjay Patra Executive Director

Compliance: NGOs must get online

The way forward for a more transparent and accountable environment is to ensure the fraction of NGOs who have records to prove their compliance go online

I always used to quote in my public discussions that India has more than 3.3 million non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a figure I got from somewhere and stuck with me. I also, on my own, without any substantial support, mentioned that not more than 10% of these NGOs would be working with sincerity and dedication.

My assumption was vindicated by the recently released information by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that was published in some newspapers late last week. According to the published reports sourced from the CBI, which further attributes its source to the Registrar of Societies, there are 3.1 million NGOs in India, which means this is the largest institutional form of body in any sector anywhere in any country in the world.

In fact, all other major and large institutions in India look small compared to the number of NGOs. For example, there are only 250,000 panchayat institutions in the country, with about 2.8 million elected members. Similarly, we have about 1.8 million Anganwadi or frontline health workers in the country, which is again a figure of the collective of individuals under health as an institution. Ironically, we have 50% fewer schools in India compared to the number of NGOs.

According to reports, less than 10% of the 3.1 million NGOs have submitted their balance sheets and filed income-tax returns—i.e., 290,000 of them. This is just a little more than the number of panchayats in India, and perhaps it is the correct number of NGOs that India should ideally have.

Actually, we should not be surprised that only 10% of the total number of registered NGOs are believed to be functional and seen as accountable. If we look at any institution at that scale in India, the performance and accountability list would be around the same percentage. We need to ask ourselves how many panchayats are functional in a real sense and how many of the elected members attend or hold gram sabhas. The result won’t be very impressive.

One account that I have is that not more than 50,000 of the total 250,000 panchayats have computers, which is only 20%. Although computers have been allocated to all of them, the number of panchayats that use the computers and the connectivity provided to them is low. My account comes from the more than 100 locations where we are present. Not at a single one of these locations have we ever found any panchayats using computers for their daily work.

Similarly, I have another account about frontline health workers. Last week, I was in Gadchiroli, in a village called Bodhli to meet a Stree Arogya Doot (female health worker) who works under an NGO called SEARCH. Her task was to take care of pregnant women and newborn babies under a programme called home-based newborn. In this village and many adjoining villages, there are many ASHA workers on the rolls of the government. They are paid well, but not a single mother or pregnant woman goes to these workers. The poor performance of the schools in India could be seen through the recently released Socio Economic and Caste Census. It has already revealed an abysmal performance on the part of schools and teachers and its impact on education.

Likewise, look at the business sector. How many of the institutions are functional and accountable? There are more than 26 million micro and small enterprises in India, but how many of them are functional and how many of those registered with the Registrar of Companies have ever done their balance sheet or filed their income-tax return, for that matter?

I know for a fact that out of 2,000 traditional skill-based clusters in India, where thousands of entrepreneurs and enterprises exist, none of them ever got themselves registered or have ever filed their income-tax returns. I got to know this because we wanted to get them websites and asked what credentials they had to show online.

I do not think that it is a big surprise that we have less than 10% of NGOs who have shown compliance; the issue has more to do with perception. I guess, as soon as one talks of NGOs, people expect them to be above normal human beings—extraordinarily honest, devoted, frugal, ethical, full of sacrifice and certainly the ones not expected to hide anything.

The reason for this expectation is not totally misplaced, as that is what NGOs declare themselves to be. However, over a period of time, there have been trends to form NGO for an available opportunity and then open another one for another opportunity.

For example, in one of several workshops that we organized for NGOs to train them in digital tools, we got to know, especially in Andhra Pradesh, that hundreds of NGOs are formed every year as per the work availability under various government departments. After the disbursement of amounts per NGO, they gradually, for all practical purpose, cease to exist. Try to get in touch using any of their contact numbers and address and you won’t find anything.

To bring order in this sector with the firm belief that the right ones who do hard work do not suffer from lack of visibility, resources and linkages with government and supporting organizations—these NGOs also produce lot of content and knowledge that must be shared in open domain—we reached out to about 10,000 NGOs in the last five years through many workshops.

More than 90% of them said they would be more than happy to have their website and are ready to share everything that is usually asked for compliances. I believe online presence for each NGO must be made mandatory, with each of them, as part of compliance procedures, sharing their annual balance sheet and the list of work and locations, including the names of funding sources.

Instead of blaming the NGOs that do not comply, we should blame those who choose to work with them. The way forward for a more transparent and accountable environment for NGOs, at least for a start, is to ensure all those 10% NGOs who have records to prove their compliance go online.

Osama Manzar is founder-director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chair of Manthan and mBillionth awards. He is also a member of screening committee of community radio at the ministry of information & broadcasting. Tweet him @osamamanzar


Sunday, August 2, 2015

A handy guide to helping NGOs effect social change

Civil society—the NGO sector—bridges the gulf between citizens and government. When governments treat this bridge with hostility, it is the citizen who is distanced and whose interests have no interlocutor.

July 2015 brought civil society funding into the limelight. Azim Premji gave away almost half his stake in Wipro to his charitable foundation, which supports The Azim Premji Foundation and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative. This was overshadowed by the government’s hot pursuit of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand’s NGO with allegations that they misused donations.

Not only does the government’s action draw attention to the ever-conflictual relationship between state and civil society, it also brings forward some concerns that only NGOs need to worry about— the regulatory universe of NGO funding and its impact on our functioning. (Full disclosure: I run an NGO that depends almost entirely on individual donations.)

A year ago, the Central Bureau of Investigation estimated that there were around 20 lakh NGOs in India, averaging one for every 600 Indians. The Voluntary Action Network India estimates 1.2 million NGOs, of which 73.4% have one or less paid staff member, 80% work with local contributions (13% with government and 7% with international funding). These are old numbers but still correct indicators, I think. Essentially, we should understand that there are countless NGOs, registered in different ways (as trusts, societies or non-profit companies), working across the country on different levels and varying scales, mostly very small and funded largely locally. We know from our work in Chennai that they are poorly networked and most of them pivot around a founder or two, operating in relative isolation.

There appears to be a growth in the numbers of NGOs and, according to Scroll, experts in the social sector attribute this growth to various factors including growing social inequality, entrepreneurial spirit and greater availability of funds. People are constantly pointing out that with companies now obliged to spend 2% of their profit socially, it must be a good time for NGOs.

But are things that easy?

First, let us look at the question of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Most companies have their own CSR activities, either through foundations or villages or self-help groups that they adopt. They do not reach out to non-profits to disburse money, although that is a common perception. Most average NGOs would not have a clue about how to identify or approach a CSR manager either. Moreover, if companies were to go strictly by the items listed in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, what they could legitimately support is quite restricted. There is a suggestion that companies should liberally interpret the guidelines, but at a moment where the social sector is generally regarded with suspicion, if not hostility, most companies will err on the side of caution.

This means that for most NGOs to access CSR resources, they would have to make large adjustments in their proposed activities. Once, at a meeting to request financial support, someone told us, “We support tree-planting and blood donation.” Unfortunately, those were not the things we were seeking to do. Integrity in the social sector is not just good book-keeping and transparency, it is also sticking to your original vision and the things you set out to do. It is incredibly difficult to stay that course and yet, thousands of NGOs do it against great odds.

Communicating with corporates is also hard. People in the NGO sector come in with a sense of wanting to do something about a cause. Corporates speak a different language, literally, and it takes a lot of time and effort to understand the marketing and venture capital language with which they interrogate NGO workers. The effort tends to be one-sided, and even then, it is often hard for the corporate interlocutor to understand exactly what the NGO person envisions. Sometimes, we do work that cannot be counted or measured easily; the numbers may mean more to corporates than they do to us in this sector. With awareness or advocacy work, for instance, we can tell you we have reached or talked to X number of people in Y locations. Whether we have convinced them, we cannot tell from one contact and we honestly should not. The gestation period of some of this work is longer than time institutional funders have.

There is a great deal of discussion about FCRA and its abuse these days. Would that foreign funding were that easy to access! Applying for FCRA is a cumbersome and time-consuming process with no automatic return. You cannot be sure your application will be approved and you cannot be sure that once it is, you will actually get the grants you hope for. Now with almost all FCRA approvals up for renewal, in this climate it is also doubtful that many will get renewed, throwing those organisations into disarray. This means that, for one, many employees will have to find other jobs. What is worse, many care and development projects will have to be shut down, hurting those most in need of services. Little wonder that in recent years, one comes across NGOs who simply choose not to bother with the hassles of FCRA.

So who funds them? In our case, I can tell you it’s mostly your average, invisible, “ordinary” Indian. The India Philanthropy Report 2011 found that individual donors made up only 26% of all charitable donations. They were looking at the giving habits of wealthy individuals. That 26% takes on great meaning when you consider how much of it comes from middle class donors. For them, that Rs.1000-3000 donation is a large percentage that they may not even be able to spare. It has immeasurable value for the receiving NGO.

The 2015 India Philanthropy Report says that the total number of donors has gone up in India but it describes the reality that many of us live— that there are two tiers of giving. In Tier 1 are NGOs that consistently receive support from their donors; the report uses the word “sophisticated” to describe both those donors and NGOs. NGOs in Tier 2 inhabit a negative spiral in which donors move from cause to cause and NGOs are constantly raising funds. That is a reality. The challenge is to transform Tier 2 by building its capacity. But how?

Let’s start with the great concern about lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the NGO. It is a healthy concern whether applied to NGOs, political parties or corporates. But if we return to the VANI statistic about most NGOs employing just one person, in order for them to keep great books, that person needs to be an accountant. Individual donors do not have the capacity to support an office space or a living wage for a qualified person. For the quality of governance that NGOs are expected to have, we need to have a minimum administrative structure— a good book-keeper, a space to keep records. There is demand for that, but no support. If the one person employed by an NGO is a book-keeper, then who will do the work for which the NGO was founded?

While completely agreeing that NGOs must meet the standards to which they hold others,I would ask potential donors to consider this everyday conundrum in our lives. How can they help NGOs create the administrative support structures essential for the work that they do? All sorts of gifts would help: office space; dedicated administrative support or web design and maintenance (essential for transparency these days). A volunteer accountant from your organisation to visit and help with accounts would be greatly appreciated by many organisations. But the most radical help would be to get over the allergy to administrative overheads when you support an organisation.

Dedicated giving—to one purpose or one activity—has its utility, but giving without conditions, is far more useful. It allows the money to flow where it is most useful in the moment. In a sense, it is closest to the ideal of giving that every faith tradition advocates: giving in gratitude because you are in a position to give, rather than to control an outcome because you are in a position to do so. Most individuals give in this spirit and that is why they are so precious to small organisations like mine.

Corporates and foundations are constrained by their rules but they can emulate this model of giving if they take a little trouble to get to know a cause or an organisation in a sustained fashion. The responsibility of facilitating that cannot rest with the NGO alone. They are already short-handed and under-resourced. “Cultivating” a potential donor is simply not as important as addressing the need of the day. A part of the job description of the hundreds who will now be recruited to CSR portfolios must be to devote time to learning about causes and maybe even volunteering with an organisation as part of their due diligence before an official relationship is charted.

The India Philanthropy Report shows that donors like to give to organisations with a proven capacity to handle money, accounts and even receipts. The result is that those who have, get more. In the service sector, this creates a situation where most service providers—say, those who run helplines and distress services for women—cannot hire trained help, cannot spend money on training, cannot upgrade or expand their services and cannot retain their staff. What does this mean for the quality of services available to the majority? It means that one or two organisations are able to do this work brilliantly and everyone else just holds on thinking that something is better than nothing.

Civil society—the NGO sector—bridges the gulf between citizens and government. When governments treat this bridge with hostility, it is the citizen who is distanced and whose interests have no interlocutor. NGOs take on the responsibility for a hundred different things—from handloom cooperatives to prisoners’ rights to concerns about nuclear energy or land use to education—that are beyond the capacity of individual citizens and strain the reach (and the political will) of governments. All these issues and projects however, underwrite the democracy and the visions of equitable development we like to endorse over long lunches and dinners.

None of us can support all those causes. If we gave thoughtfully, however, we might find that press freedom or supporting the preservation of indigenous seeds is particularly important to us. A little research would shows us who is working in that area and we could learn how to make a donation. Remember that many, many organisations cannot afford to join portals or to set up online payment. When I make the commitment to give, I make the commitment to finding a way to get that support across even if I have to walk over to the post office and send a money order.

You do not have to give. But giving feels really good. It enables the NGO to do their work but it empowers the donor even more. Giving can include time, materials or money. It can take the form of sharing your network or your administrative resources. Running this small organisation, I have seen and I can reassure you that every bit really counts and nothing is too small a gift. Even your loose change can buy stamps for an NGO—​ revenue stamps for receipts and postage stamps to send them out!

Swarna Rajagopalan is a political scientist by training and the founder of Prajnya.​


Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly of FCRA?

In 2010, Mr. P. Chidambaram told the Parliament that the Government does not mind if foreign contribution is used for 'legitimate charitable social, educational, medical and activity that serves any public purpose'. However, it won't allow foreign contribution to 'dominate social and political discourse in India'. However, the FCRA Bill, passed after Mr. Chidambaram's luminous speech, did not say what activities might influence the social and political discourse. The rules also left this undefined (except for a definition of political activities, given in rule 3).

This uncertainty will be cleared up once the FCRA rules are amended (click here to see the proposed draft). NGOs will be asked to tabulate their expenditure against a list of 81 purposes while filing the annual return for foreign contribution (the present list has only 56, including a residual item: other activities).

The new list also contains a useful code hinting at what is acceptable and what is not. The purposes are sub-divided into three categories: service delivery, civil rights advocacy, and research.

A. Service Delivery

This list has 56 activities - mostly around construction, welfare, education, income generation, agriculture, religion, disaster relief, etc. This is the classic formulation of charity, which is focused on helping others directly. Interestingly, the list includes theatre/films, empowerment of women, awareness camps, and seminars. Also included is 'salary / honorarium to non-employees as part of specific projects', whatever that might mean.

B. Civil Rights Advocacy

This, of course, is the bone of contention between government and NGOs. This is suitably limited to 20 activities, including rights, discrimination, justice, natural resources, climate change, and accountability. Child rights also show up here, as do public health, communication strategy and internet freedom. Though empowerment of women is classified as service delivery, violence against women, and sex workers' rights are under civil rights advocacy.

Religious discrimination is listed here, though other religious activities are under service delivery. Capacity building is also included here - it would have to be somehow distinguished from awareness camps, meetings, and seminars, which are listed under service delivery.

C. Research

Research seems to be the new joker in the pack - you never know where it might take you! Therefore, all conferences, lectures, publications, seminars, are in this grey zone. Conferences and seminars are also listed under service delivery, probably due to an oversight.

Therefore, if you spend most of the foreign contribution on service delivery, the FCRA department is unlikely to be bothered. But if your activities include civil rights advocacy or research, you should be prepared for some discomforting scrutiny by the Department!

The complete list is given below.

Category A: Service Delivery
Celebration of national events (Independence/Republic Day), festivals, etc.
Maintenance of places of historical & cultural importance
Preservation of ancient/ tribal/ indigenous art forms
Cultural activities
Setting up and running handicraft centre/ cottage & khaki industry/ social forestry projects
Animal husbandry projects
Projects/ schemes for income generation for targeted groups
Micro finance projects, including setting up banking cooperatives and self-help groups
Agricultural activity
Rural Development
Construction and maintenance of school/ college
Construction and running of hostel for poor students
Grant of stipend/ scholarship/ assistance in cash and kind to poor/ deserving children
Purchase and supply of educational material - books, notebooks, etc.
Conducting adult literacy programs
Education/ Schools for the mentally challenged
Non-formal education projects/ coaching classes
Construction/ Repair/ Maintenance of place of worship
Religious schools/ education of priests and preachers
Publication and distribution of religious literature
Religious functions
Maintenance of priests/ preachers/ other religious functionaries
Construction / Running of hospital/ dispensary/ clinic
Construction of community halls etc.
Construction and Management of old age home
Welfare of the aged/ widows
Construction and Management of Orphanage
Welfare of orphans
Construction and Management of dharamshala/ shelter
Holding of free medical/ health/ family welfare/ immunisation camps
Supply of free medicine, and medical aid, including hearing aids, visual aids, family planning
Treatment/ Rehabilitation of persons suffering from leprosy
Treatment/ Rehabilitation of drug addicts
Welfare/ Empowerment of women
Welfare of children
Provision of free clothing/ food to the poor, needy and destitute
Relief/ Rehabilitation of victims of natural calamities
Help to victims of riots/ other disturbances
Digging of bore wells
Sanitation including community toilets, etc.
Vocational training - tailoring, motor repairs, computers, etc.
Awareness Camp/ Seminar/ Workshop/ Meeting/ Conference
Organising sports activities
Treatment and rehabilitation of persons affected by disease
Welfare of the specially/ differently abled, including provision of aids such as wheelchairs, hearing/visual aids, etc.
Welfare of the Scheduled Castes
Welfare of the Scheduled Tribes
Welfare of the Other Backward Classes
Survey for socio-economic and other welfare programs
Establishment expenses
Asset building
Establishment of Corpus Fund
Purchase of land
Construction/ Extension/ Maintenance of office, administrative and other buildings
Payment of salaries/ honorarium to non-employees as part of specific projects

Category B: Civil Rights advocacy
Human rights
Caste Discrimination
Religious Discrimination
Violence Against Women
Child Rights
Human trafficking
Bonded labour
Sex workers rights
Tribal/indigenous peoples' rights
Democratic rights
Public accountability
Capacity building
Communication strategy
Criminal Justice System
Community rights
Issues regarding natural resources
Climate Change
Cyber Security
Internet freedom
Public health

Category C: Research

[FCRA: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 - Applicable in India]

Friday, July 31, 2015

Update Information within next 15 days to avail online Services of FCRA with ease

FCRA Department has become quite active as we all know. Now it has asked all FCRA registered associations to provide various details online. Please go to the link following to access the registration screen and update details as requested. These details mainly cover address, chief functionary mobile, email id, designated bank account and utilization account details.

There is an option to review this data even after saving the information, but do not press submit button till you are sure. For Instructions click here. :

MOST IMPORTANT: These details have to be provided within next 15 days.