Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Forcible Do-gooding

Scrap mandatory CSR which serves no purpose

India is the only country in the world that has forced do-gooding on companies, by law; that is, mandatory and targeted spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR). On the face of it, this is yet another bleeding-heart decision of the decade long Congress-led government that will serve no purpose for those intended to benefit. It will only create exasperation and bitterness among companies.

Despite hectic corporate lobbying, the Narendra Modi government has decided not to scrap mandatory CSR. However, in a tacit acknowledgement of the hasty, restrictive and badly drafted provisions, it has been issuing a flurry of clarifications some of which are withdrawn with the same speed at which they were issued.

A talk by Noshir Dadrawala, philanthropy expert and CEO of the Centre for Philantrophy, at Moneylife Foundation, on 20th October, opened our eyes to all that is wrong with this hypocritical attempt to funnel corporate funds to NGOs. Mr Dadrawala’s wide experience of helping corporates and NGOs provides the best possible snapshot of what is wrong with this legislation that has become operative in the current financial year. Take a look.

• Even a philanthropy expert like Mr Dadrawala repeatedly referred to companies subject to the CSR compulsion as ‘affected’ by the Act. The number is around 16,000 but the estimate of funds that would be available has rapidly been revised from Rs20,000 crore (that was originally estimated) to just around Rs15,000 crore or much less. But, for those companies that fall in the CSR zone, 2% of profit before tax is significant income that is hard-earned and should only be spent voluntarily. Consequently, Mr Dadrawala says, CSR has been reduced to ‘mere arithmetic’ or compliance, taking the heart out of the provision. This is neither good for those who selflessly devote time to various causes nor for companies who are forced to fork out funds against their wish.

• “Christmas is not around the corner,” he told a room packed with activists and NGOs looking for funding. Large public and private sector companies within the CSR ambit not only spend over 2% or even more on sustained support to their chosen projects and will continue to do so.

• The CSR mandate needlessly forces companies to set up their own NGOs/foundations for ‘managing’ the CSR initiatives. This is money needlessly squandered in administrative expenses, instead of reaching specific projects. Worse, the law has only spawned an army of CSR consultants who are collecting fat fees, instead of money going towards deserving social causes.

• A lot of the CSR advice being given is about how to buy time and delay spending the money. In many cases, the funds available are too small, while the statutory restrictions and reporting requirements too onerous (utilisation reports, no funding of administrative cost, only funding of projects and not ongoing activities and so on) to structure a project to get the funds. Joining up with other companies to fund a CSR project has its own set of difficulties.

• Since project implementation agencies (NGOs) have to be in existence for at least three years, it shrinks the donation pie for new NGOs. Mr Dadrawala also says that onerous reporting requirements make it a win-win for companies to simply make a donation to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to fulfil their mandate. Others, with larger funds to donate, would prefer to give it to NGOs who enjoy a 100% or 175% tax exemption because of the nature of their activities.

• The large NGOs have discovered an excellent revenue generating activity in holding seminars that promise to tell people how to get a share of the CSR pie by pitching their project proposals correctly. These seminars charge anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand rupees, which only squanders the scarce resources of NGOs.

All this begs a simple question: Why make CSR mandatory when it will end up pleasing nobody—neither donors, nor beneficiaries, nor the implementing agencies? Instead, voluntary donations of time and effort in areas where companies have domain expertise ought to be encouraged. Will the Modi sarkar see sense on CSR?

Source: http://www.moneylife.in/article/forcible-do-gooding/39234.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scheme to protect girl child may be launched on Nov 14

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to launch an ambitious scheme to empower the girl child called ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ on November 14.

Initially, the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry will be launching the scheme in 100 districts across India which has the worst child sex ratio (CSR).

Through a slew of measures such as incentivising pregnant mothers to register during the first trimester to rewarding informers to help in identifying unregistered clinics indulging in illegal sex selection test, the ministry is targeting to bring down the declining ratio by 50 points every year.

From 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001 to 918 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011, CSR in India has dipped to an all time low since Independence.

Advocacy would be a key component of the scheme for which the Modi government has allocated Rs. 100 crore in the 2014-15 budget.

“The idea is to use incentives and disincentives; right from the time a girl child is born to protect her,” said WCD minister Maneka Gandhi.

On October 31, Gandhi would be holding meeting of senior district officials in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to discuss the scheme’s implementation.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/scheme-to-protect-girl-child-may-be-launched-on-nov-14/article1-1279626.aspx

Donations to Swach Bharat Kosh, Clean Ganga now part of CSR

MUMBAI : The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has included donations to the Swach Bharat Kosh and the Clean Ganga Fund — set up by the Central government — as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) spends by India Inc. This notification was issued last Friday, October 24.

As donations made to eligible funds qualify for certain tax breaks, India Inc is eagerly looking forward to a notification from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

In February, MCA had amended Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and a final set of CSR activities were outlined. These included activities for improving sanitation — donations to Swach Bharat Koch now fall in this segment, whereas donations towards the Clean Ganga Fund qualify as an 'activity for conservation of natural resources and maintaining the quality of water'.

Corporate head-honchos have responded enthusiastically to the Swach Bharat campaign and have cleaned public places. CSR experts feel that both these funds — Swach Bharat Kosh and Clean Ganga Fund — could attract sizeable donations from India Inc. Donations are also a hassle-free way of meeting CSR obligations, according to experts.

On the tax front, it may be recalled that the maiden Budget of the new government had clarified that expenditure incurred towards CSR activities will not be allowed as deductible business expenditure. In other words, such expenditure would not be deducible for tax purposes under section 37(1) of the Income Tax (I-T) Act and will not directly reduce the taxable business profits of a company.

But, India Inc could avail of any tax benefits that were available in respect of such expenditure under other specific sections of the I-T Act, such as section 80G which relates to donations. For instance, contributions to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund also qualify as a CSR spend. Further, donations to these funds are entitled to a 100% deduction from taxable income.

Under section 80G of the I-T Act, the amount of donation is deductible from taxable income, either in full or to the extent of 50%. The aggregate maximum amount which is allowed as a deduction is subject to a ceiling of 10% of the gross total income of the donor. For certain funds, such as the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, this ceiling of 10% doesn't apply.

Hence, a notification from the CBDT with regards to the tax breaks available to donations made to Swach Bharat Kosh and the Clean Ganga Fund is crucial, say tax experts.

When the setting up of the Clean Ganga Fund was announced, the government had indicated that even foreign donors could get suitable tax exemptions under domestic tax laws (Indian Income Tax Act) wherever permissible. It was also indicated that the government would explore the possibility of setting up ancillary funds in a few other countries where there is a large dominance of Indian expats — such as USA, UK, Singapore and UAE — to enable Indian migrants to contribute to the fund and get a tax benefit in these countries. It is learnt that the various modalities of this are being worked out.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Donations-to-Swach-Bharat-Kosh-Clean-Ganga-now-part-of-CSR/articleshow/44954763.cms

Cash payments of more than Rs 20,000 prohibited by FCRA Department

FCRA Dept has come out with a Circular dated 21st October 2014, as per which that NGOs utilizing funds out of their FC Designated accounts and FCRA Utilisation Accounts must utilize these funds through account payee cheques or through demand drafts. Any payments made in cash could result in scrutiny.

Thus please bring it to notice of all NGOs that you are associated with to shun cash payments to the extent possible, but certainly no payments above Rs 20,000 should be made in cash.


Monday, October 27, 2014

FCRA Advisory to Incur Expenditure above Rs. 20,000/- by Cheque or Draft



Cash is no longer king...for FCRA holders

Cash makes the world go round, as they say. Most people therefore love being paid in crisp currency notes. Some refuse to accept cash at all, especially from NGOs.

The FCRA Department has put a spanner into this scheme of things. From now on, NGOs should avoid cash payments of Rs.20, 000 or more. These should be made by cheque / demand drafts (ideally crossed account payee). You can also make the payments by bank transfer.

If you ignore this warning, and continue drawing large amounts of cash from FCRA bank account, be prepared to face deeper scrutiny. Usually this means a polite invitation to visit FCRA office in Delhi with all your books and accounts. This can be quite an experience.

And the invitation card does not say RSVP either.

Ref:

FCRA Advisory dated 21-Oct-14.
FCRA refers to Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Applicable in India.

NGOs spending over Rs 20,000 in cash to attract intensive government scrutiny

NEW DELHI: Tightening the screws on Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and associations, the Home Ministryhas said that any association indulging in cash payments in the excess of Rs 20000 will attract "intensive scrutiny" from government.

This follows a detailed inspection lately of records and accounts of associations which have been granted prior permission by the government to receive foreign contributions. "It has been observed that some associations withdraw huge amounts of Foreign Contribution (FC) from their FC designated bank accounts and Utilisation accounts by cash," the Home Ministry said in a circular issued by a Joint Secretary on October 21, which ET has accessed.

he Home Ministry has asked NGOs to incur all expenditure above Rs 20000 by cheque or drafts. "As per the Income Tax Act, any expenditure incurred by certain category of NGOs in respect of which payment is made for a sum exceeding Rs 20000 otherwise than by an account payee cheque drawn on a bank or by an account payee bank draft, shall not be allowed as a deduction under the Income Tax Act," the Circular says.

It adds that the issue of fixing an upper limit for incurring expenditure by associations registered/granted permission under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 by cash from designated bank accounts has been "under consideration" of the government for some time. "The Government, after considering the issue, advises all FCRA associations that items of expenditure/payments amounting to Rs 20000 should be done by cheque or demand drafts," the Ministry says.

It has been further specified that the records and accounts of associations indulging in cash payments of Rs 20000 or more from the designated bank accounts "are likely to require more intensive scrutiny by government" and the circular has been issued with approval of the competent authority.

Source: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-26/news/55446635_1_home-ministry-accounts-expenditure





Multinational corporations seek clarity on CSR legal norms

NEW DELHI: Multinational corporations operating in India have sought clarity on the corporate social responsibility norms, saying the inconsistency between theCompanies Act and the CSR rules has put them in a fix on whether they are legally bound to follow the norms on mandatory social spend.

These companies say while Section 135 of the Companies Act of 2013—which deals with corporate social responsibility or CSR—applies only to Indian companies, the CSR rules issued earlier this year to implement the section says oreign companies, their project offices and branches in India need to follow law. The Companies Act requires a company to spend 2% of its average net profit in the preceding three years on CSR if it has a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or net profit of Rs 5 crore or more.

"There's a lot of ambiguity whether CSR norms in the new Act are applicable to us or not," said a senior executive of a leading MNC operating in India's Infrastructure sector. "We, in any case, as a part of our global practice, do CSR in locations we operate in but are we bound to do it as per the law is yet to be clarified. We have raised the issue with the government."The Act says that its provisions will apply to "companies incorporated under this Act or under any previous company law".

But the CSR rules have expanded the reference to a "company" by including foreign firmshaving offices in India. "The rules seem to have gone beyond what was stated in the Act, by also including a foreign company having branch offices and project of-fices, although it does not fall into the definition of a company," said Sai Venkateshwaran, partner and head-accounting advisory services at KPMG in India.

Experts say, as per the law, foreign companies are not bound to follow CSR norms."It's a settled legal position that rules are supplementary and subservient to the provision of statute and cannot enlarge its scope. We're advising our foreign clients that legally the Act has to be followed not rules. The government needs to amend the law to get foreign firms in ambit of CSR norms," said Rakesh Nangia, managing partner at Nangia & Company.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/multinational-corporations-seek-clarity-on-csr-legal-norms/articleshow/44943103.cms

Govt makes CSR spending mandatory for public sector companies

The Department of Public Enterprises has come out with the revised guidelines following the new Companies Act

Coming out with revised guidelines, the government has made it mandatory for all profit-making central public sector companies to spend money on CSR activities.

Besides, these enterprises cannot include money spent on sustainable development efforts under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ambit.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) has come out with the revised guidelines following the new Companies Actmaking social welfare spending compulsory for certain class of profitable corporates mandatory.

In comparison with provisions under the Companies Act, 2013, the latest DPE norms are more strict since it would be applicable on all profit-making central public sector enterprises.

As per the companies law, certain class of entities are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three- year annual average net profit towards CSR activities. This would be applicable to companies having at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs 1,000 crore turnover or Rs 500 crore net worth.

According to revised DPE guidelines, issued on October 21, "it is mandatory for all profit-making CPSEs to undertake CSR activities as per provisions of the Act and CSR rules".

These guidelines are effective from April 1.

CPSEs that do not meet the eligibility criteria under the Companies Act but have made profit in the preceding year are now required to spend "at least two per cent of the profit made in the preceding year on CSR activities".

Under the guidelines, prepared after consultations with the Corporate Affairs Ministry, sustainability efforts cannot be considered as CSR activities.

"Amount spent on sustainability initiatives in the pursuit of sustainable development while conducting normal business activities would not constitute a part of the CSR spend from two per cent of the profits as stipulated in the Act and the CSR Rules," DPE, the nodal agency for all public sector companies, has said.

Besides, the public sector entities are required to carry forward the unspent CSR funds to the next year.

"In case of CPSEs mere reporting and explaining the reasons for not spending this amount in a particular year would not suffice and the unspent CSR amount in a particular year would not lapse.

"It would instead be carried forward to the next year for utilisation for purpose for which it was allocated," it said.

Among others, DPE has said that public sector companies should look at collaborations in CSR activities for "greater social, economic and environmental impact" of such works.

CPSEs have to adopt a CSR and Sustainability Policy with approval from their respective boards.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NGOs


Kind words


Our World


Sorry for the Inconvenience


Respect Women


Discovering self


Service of others to find self


Weekly child rescue drive govt vowed in Sept yet to start: NGO

NOIDA: The district labour department has failed to deliver its promise to conduct weekly operations to rescue child labourers in Gautam Budh Nagar, child rights NGOs alleged on Friday.

In September, the Gautam Budh Nagar assistant labour commissioner M K Joshi had announced with great fanfare that his department had formed two teams to conduct rescue operations, one each in Noida and Greater Noida, every week. But it now appears that the initiative never kicked off.

Allegations of the labour department dragging its feet come at a time when the police forces in both Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar have launched search and rescue operations to find missing kids, coinciding with the Nobel Peace Prize for child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

Officials of Childline, a child rights NGO that works under the Union ministry of woman and child development, said they had received around 300 rescue calls from child labourers from the district in the past eight months. But when the NGO recently wrote to the labour department to kickstart its rescue operations, it got no response. Officials of the NGO said since rescue operations are conducted jointly with them by the labour department and police, the former's lack of co-operation has slowed down the process.

"From February to October this year, we received around 300 calls from children in the district. Of these, we found around 150 children working in dhabas, factories and Noida residences," said Satya Prakash, manager at FXB India Suraksha-Childline.

District assistant labour commissioner Joshi said, "I will look into the matter. If the drive has not yet kicked off, we will start it from Monday.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Weekly-child-rescue-drive-govt-vowed-in-Sept-yet-to-start-NGO/articleshow/44928623.cms

Contributions to Swach Bharat Kosh come under CSR ambit

Contributions made by corporates towards Swach BharatKosh and Clean Ganga Fund will be considered as social welfare spending under the new companies law, according to the government.

Swach Bharat Kosh and Clean Ganga Fund are among the key initiatives unveiled by the Narendra Modi-led government as part of its efforts to ensure cleanliness.

While Swach Bharat Kosh is to attract funds for works to improve sanitation facilities, the Clean Ganga Fund is for pooling money to be used for cleaning up Ganga river.

Certain class of profitable companies are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. The provision, which is part of the new Companies Act, came into force from April 1.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry, which is implementing the new companies law, has now brought contributions to Swach Bharat Kosh and Clean Ganga Fund under the CSR ambit.

In a notification today, the Ministry has inserted the words 'including contribution to the Swach Bharat Kosh set up by the central government for the promotion of sanitation" in Schedule VII of the Act.

Besides, the words "including contribution to the Clean Ganga Fund set up by the central government for rejuvenation of river Ganga" have been inserted in the Schedule.

Schedule VII of Companies Act, 2013, pertains to CSR activities.

During the day, Modi -- whose government has embarked on a major drive to ensure cleanliness -- tweeted about the topic.

"Several friends told me that a lot of people cleaned the areas where they burst crackers during Diwali. I congratulate them for the efforts," he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, as per the new companies law, CSR norms would be applicable to companies having at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs 1,000 crore turnover or Rs 500 crore net worth.

Such companies would need to spend two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit on CSR activities in each financial year, beginning 2014-15 fiscal.

Livelihood enhancement and rural development projects, working towards protection of national heritage, setting up public libraries, promotion and development of traditional arts and handicrafts, are among the activities coming under CSR ambit.

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/contributions-to-swach-bharat-kosh-come-under-csr-ambit-114102400913_1.html

India Inc makes a slow start on CSR

October 24, 2014:

For India Inc, the season of giving has begun. The new Companies Act requires corporates to spend 2 per cent of their profits on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. But six months since the Rules took effect, many corporates are still grappling with structuring and implementation.

Big issue for small firms

For smaller companies embarking on CSR, structuring the activity isn’t easy as it involves overheads and compliance costs. Large companies, on the other hand, often have foundations or trusts in place to channel CSR initiatives. So, small and medium companies are either looking to undertake short-term CSR activities in-house by appointing designated employees or using third-party implementing agencies, says Anand Mehta, Partner, Khaitan & Co.

If that proves difficult, donating to the PM’s Relief Fund is an easy option. “Certain smaller companies have been fulfilling CSR obligations by making donations to the PM’s Relief Fund, thereby avoiding overhead and compliance costs,” he notes.

Many first-time implementers are also looking to pool resources that they plan to hand over to NGOs, which will implement the actual initiatives. Government regulations allow pooling of CSR funds to achieve scale. With an estimated 8,500 companies falling under the minimum CSR spend mandate, a large pool of money is going to be generated, making NGOs keen to engage.

“Non-profits are looking to tap into the CSR spends of first-time companies and small and medium enterprises. These companies do not have specialist teams and will, therefore, find it difficult to plan and monitor the spending,” says Atul Raja, Executive Vice-President, Marketing, Wadhwani Foundation. He notes that corporates are also demanding more professionalism and better disclosure standards from the NGO sector.

Business as usual

While small companies are searching for effective solutions, CSR seems to be business-as-usual for some larger firms. For instance, mining major Sesa Sterlite, along with its group companies, brought in nearly ₹300 crore in 2013-14, says Roma Balwani, President, Sustainability and CSR, Vedanta Group. “Our CSR initiatives are implemented in the local communities by a team of over 200 people, through public private partnership programmes”. While the company has been socially active in the communities where it operates, to comply with the new rules, a board-level CSR committee has now been constituted.

Companies seek to create an immediate or visible impact that can be strong talk-points in communicating with external stakeholders, notes Raja. The lion’s share of spends may thus go to education, health, community development and environment.

Lingering issues

Given that they aren’t confident of deploying the entire 2 per cent in the first year, companies are also worried about the consequences of non-compliance.

The Companies Act, 2013 requires companies to report if the mandated CSR expense is not incurred in a given fiscal year. The CSR panel has to submit an explanation for non-compliance in the directors’ report. But it is not clear if penalties will be imposed in the event of failure to meet CSR obligations.

(This article was published on October 24, 2014)

Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/india-inc-makes-a-slow-start-on-csr/article6530804.ece

Friday, October 24, 2014

Employment Facilitation Portal of MSME, Government of India

Employment Facilitation Portal of MSME, Government of India
http://www.niesbudnaukri.com

• Set up by NIESBUD was launched by the Minister (MSME) on 11th July, 2014. So far 10134 youth seeking jobs and 179 employers have been registered.

Indian Youths requested to register themselves at: http://www.niesbudnaukri.com for a Job

Industry-Academia Facilitation Portal of MSME, Government of India

Virtual Cluster (www.msmsecluster.in) for Industry-Academia Linkages. So far 86 Domain experts, 125 academic institutions and 18,341 MSME enterprises have registered onto the platform.

Foundations and International Grantors:

Asia / Pacific

· AUSAID
Fund activities that alleviate poverty in a direct and tangible way.
Themes: Gender, Human Rights, Rural Development, Education, Health HIV/AIDS, Millennuim Development Goals
Regions: Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Caribbean and Middle East
Website: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/ngos/funding.cfm

· Dalit Foundation
Grants and Fellowships for strengthening the Dalit movement in India
Themes: Dalit empowerment and justice
Country: India
Website: http://www.dalitfoundation.org/

· Fund for Women in Asia
FWAsia is determined to help bring about social change in how women and girls are valued in their communities.
Themes: Social Change, Collectivity
Region: Asia
Website: http://www.fundwomenasia.org

· International Women's Development Agency
An Australian non-profit organization that creates positive change for women and their communities through practical and rights-based projects directly address poverty and oppression in developing countries.
Themes: Livelihood and economic empowerment; safety and security; social, physical and mental health; education; environmental sustainability and civil and political participation.
Region: Asia Pacific
Website: http://www.iwda.org.au

· Oxfam Australia
Oxfam Australia is part of a global movement of dedicated people working hard to fight poverty and injustice.
Themes: Emergencies, Gender, Youth, Indigenous Rights and HIV/AIDS
Regions: East Asia, South Asia, Southern Africa, Pacific, and Indigenous Australia
Website: http://www.oxfam.org.au/

· UU Holdeen India Program
The Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program (UUHIP) works with organizations of India's most excluded and oppressed peoples: women; dalits, who fall outside the caste system; and the adivasis or tribals who are India's indigenous peoples, especially migrant, bonded and landless agricultural laborers. UUHIP supports their efforts to participate fully in the social, economic and political life of India.
Themes: Increase marginalized groups’ organized strength and self-reliance; gain access to productive resources, services, and opportunities; increase their livelihoods, assets, economic independence, and social security; influence government policies, laws, and budgets in their favor; challenge discriminatory social practices; and build, manage, and control their own institutions, programs, and resources.
Country: India
Website: http://www.uua.org/aboutus/professionalstaff/advocacywitness/holdeenindia/index.php

Fewer bird injuries this Diwali, says NGO

Awareness drives pay off, but cruelty cases continue





the wing of an owl injured by firecrackers at the animal hospital in Parel, on Thursday Swapnil Sakhare DNA

For animal activists, Diwali is a difficult time when they receive countless cases ofanimals getting injured, accidentally or intentionally, by fireworks, or running away from their homes out of fear due to the noise pollution that is characteristic of the festival.

This year too, like every year, they spreadawareness about the adverse way noisy crackers affect animals. They spoke to children, approached police stations, and even spread messages through Facebook and Whatsapp to alert citizens to report any cruelty and missing cases. Their efforts, coupled with the hiked prices of fire crackers seem to have paid off. TheBombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) at Parel said there was a 25% dip in the number of bird injuries reported to its hospital.

Dr J C Khanna, secretary-officer in-charge of the BSPCA hospital, said, "The number of injured birds and animals being brought in during Diwali has come down since 2010. As compared to last year, the number of bird injury cases reported to us has come down by 25 per cent. Usually, several injured kites, sparrows, pigeons are brought to us during this period. This time, in these three days, we received 18 birds. Sometimes children tie fire crackers to the tails of dogs, cats and goats. We haven't got such cases yet. It is all due to the awareness spread about the importance of an eco-friendly Diwali and the price of fire crackers going up."

Omkar Rane, who is a part of the rescue operation squad of NGO Shram, said, "Yesterday (Wednesday) I got a call to rescue a baby house sparrow which fell from a tree. One dog also went missing from Juhu due to the noise of crackers. It is true that the calls received are fewer this year. Maybe it is because of the awareness drives."

However, Ganesh Nayak, founder of NGO Animals Matter to Me, said there was still a lot of work to be as cruelty cases were still coming. "During the 10 days before Diwali, we got at least 6 injury cases, while 10 to 12 dogs went missing from their home and areas. We do spread awareness among school children, but cruelty on animals is still very much prevalent. When we go to police station to file cases of animal cruelty, they prioritise human over animals. Yesterday night itself I found a dog with severe injuries on its neck, which was tied with ropes and bottles used to burst firecrackers."

If you spot an injured animal, call:

BSPCA: 24137518/5285

Shram's rescue operation squad: 9619933223

Animals Matter to Me: 9820335799

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-fewer-bird-injuries-this-diwali-says-ngo-2028755

NGOs demand following of protocol while handling complaints by women

The women’s groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Goa have put forward for early implementation a standard protocol to be followed by police while handling cases of women.

The protocol has been put forward to police following growing concerns that women victims were unwilling to approach police stations with their grievances for variety of reasons.

In case of sexual violence, the protocol demands registration of FIR immediately. It warns police to desist from making any comments or asking unnecessary questions. Sufficient staff should also be available to cut-out delay in procedures. Medical examinations should take place as soon as possible.

As regards to complaints of sexual violence made by a woman victim, the protocol demands that the police station must make available a copy of the medical report to the victim along with the FIR.

It insists that counselling support should be provided to the victim to prepare her for various procedures to be followed after filing the complaint.

While an NGO is called for recording statement, the follow-up by the NGOs in these matters is thwarted. The victims should be referred to counsellors/supporting organisations.

Ms. Sabina Martins of Bailanchao Saad told The Hindu on Thursday that they had meetings with senior police officials recently over women’s complaints, where they have submitted a list of general protocol in regard to complaints of women and specific protocol to be followed as regards complaints of trafficking, domestic violence, begging , kidnapping ,etc., apart from complaints of sex violence.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngos-demand-following-of-protocol-while-handling-complaints-by-women/article6527667.ece

India Sanitation & Toilet Summit to be Held in Delhi on 6 Feb 2015

New Delhi: Addressing the increasing importance of hygiene, health, sanitation, and toilet related issues, the India Toilet Summit 2015 ‘Sanitation for All – Toilet First’ will take place on February 6, 2015 at Lakshmipat Singhania Auditorium, PHD Chamber House, 4/2 Siri Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi.

Contact: conference@indiacsr.in or 9981099555. for more detail log on http://www.indiasanitationsummit.indiacsr.in

The Summit would provide a forum to initiate a dialogue and enlighten the delegates on various issues related to sanitation, toilet movement, woman empowerment, women dignity and girl child education etc. India Sanitation Summit Sanitation for All Toilet First 6 Feb 2015 New DelhiIt is projected to connect with different types of stakeholders to discuss and share ideas, knowledge and innovations in the area of toilet technology and sanitation as well as different project and developmental works that are going on in India from which people can benefit from the humble toilet. The summit is a unique national level forum established by the IndiaCSR Group to bring together various sanitation stakeholders under a roof to connect and collaborate on innovative inventions, projects and products in the toilet and sanitation sector in our country. Kindly visit http://www.indiasanitationsummit.indiacsr.in  

“The summit is very much aligned to ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (Clean India Initiative) of our visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s. We have decided to be an active participant of this noble Mission to support in creating national level forum to discuss various issues connected to the Toilet and Sanitation, health and education. We believe that the summit would highlight the problems allied with a lack of toilets and would also adopt resolutions to achieve Nation sanitation goals.”,

Rusen Kumar added. “Keeping in view the winter session of parliament followed by Christmas in December 2014, we had to reschedule the ‘Sanitation for All: Toilet First’ Summit of Sanitation and Toilet issues from 18 Dec’ 2014 to 6 Feb’ (Friday), 2015.”, Rusen Kumar, Director, IndiaCSR informed. “Rescheduling of the summit was decided looking into the interest of larger no of participants. Those who have already registered for the summit will not have to resister once again because of rescheduling of the event.”, he added. “The organizing team on behalf of IndiaCSR group apologizes for any inconvenience caused due to rescheduling of the event. Any update on the summit, shall be intimated to the participants through e-mail from time to time.”, Rusen Kumar said. Toilet is prime agenda of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. On the occasion of Independence Day, in his speech Shri Narendra Modi ones again stressed that toilet is ‘dignity of woman’. In his first address to nation Narendra Modi urged parliamentarians and the corporate sector to help build separate toilets for girls in schools across the country by next year. Forum for toilet technology providers By establishing a national level platform for toilet technology providers, infrastructure manufactures, innovators, associations, non-profit organizations, public sector entities and private sector stakeholders to present a plan and share best practices in the sanitation sector, the India Toilet Summit aims to empower participants, exhibitors and sponsors to exchange knowledge, expertise and resources in scaling up impact and innovation in the sanitation marketplace particularly in India. 

The ‘India Sanitation & Toilet Summit’ is designed for decision and policy makers in government, business and nonprofit sectors. The Summit is aimed at those all who wish to update themselves with recent trends and how developments, understand how various organizations are applying the innovative ideas in the area of sanitation and toilet in the country. 30 Speakers, 200 Participants The India Toilet Summit involves some of the most reputable and competent national and world renowned speakers from government and private sectors, research agencies, innovators, social and though leaders dealing in sanitation and toiletries industries in the country. There will be 30 speakers and 200 participants projected in this exclusive summit. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan from Valmiki Basti in New Delhi on 2nd October 2014, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Prime Minister asked citizens to change their mindsets as cleaning is not only the responsibility of safai karamcharis. The ambitious drive includes sweeping, removal of garbage, debris and unauthorised encroachments from the roads, markets and residential places. The campaign is aimed at making India a clean country by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Prime Minister on Independence Day made a clarion call for Swachh Bharat, a massive mass movement to create awareness of cleanliness and hygiene. He said that a clean India is the best tribute that we can pay to Mahatma Gandhi when we celebrate his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.

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Khadi Clusters Under Sfurti Scheme

LOK SABHA

The Government has launched the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) for development of around 100 clusters from khadi, village and coir sectors with a total plan outlay of Rs. 97.25 crore. The Scheme envisages need-based assistance for replacement of production equipment, setting up of common facility centres (CFC), product development, quality improvement, improved marketing, training and capacity building, etc. 118 clusters (33 from khadi, 59 from Village Industries and 26 from coir) have been approved for their development under this scheme.

Under SFURTI, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (erstwhile Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries) does not receive any proposals directly from State/UT Governments. The cluster development proposals are received by the Nodal Agencies, i.e. Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and Coir Board from Khadi Institutions, NGOs, institutions of the Central and State Governments and semi Government institutions with the consent of the State Governments. After examining the proposal, the same are forwarded by the Nodal Agency to the Scheme Steering Committee of SFURTI for consideration.

This information was given by the Minister of Small Scale Industries and Agro & Rural Industries, Shri Mahabir Prasad in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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MG/SR
(Release ID :35933)