Monday, May 25, 2015

Government of India’s Mission Ganga seeks NGO Partnerships under the Nirmal Ganga Bhagidaari

The Government of India’s National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has issued a call for proposals for NGOs, government bodies, academic institutions in India and abroad to partner for the ‘Normal Ganga Bhagidaari’ – the ‘Join us in Cleaning Ganga’ campaign.

Pollution in River Ganga is mainly on two accounts: nallahs/drains carrying municipal and/or industrial effluents into the River Ganga and river surface pollution such as pious refuse, solid waste, disposal of dead bodies, etc. The focus of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) so far has been on creation of treatment capacities (Sewage Treatment Plants) and related infrastructure for abatement of pollution caused by domestic/industrial sewage.

Now, NMCG intends to expand its footprint to tackle river surface pollution and other areas. The projects are expected to start from June, 2015.

The proposals submitted by organizations should include the budget and timelines required for completion. Documentary proof with respect to legal status, registration details including FCRA status, financial status, performance, and relevant experience shall be enclosed along with the proposal. A committee comprising representatives from relevant government departments will scrutinize all eligible entries. Projects
recommended by the Committee will be proposed to prospective donors/investors/CSR funding/philanthropic donations by Overseas Indians as the case may be. The proposals will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

For more information, download this document.: http://www.indianembassy.nl/docs/Nirmal%20Ganga%20Final.pdf

Modiversary: Tightening screws on NGO sector to push development

Modi government's relationship with NGOs, particularly those funded by foreign donors, has been troubled from the word go. But home ministry officials say the action against NGOs in the past year is an extension of UPA's policy of tightening the screws on organizations against development projects, negatively impacting GDP growth.

Work on the IB report that prepared the ground for action against Greenpeace, for example, was undertaken during UPA's tenure. The report's damning revelations left the Modi government little choice but to invoke FCRA to put Greenpeace International funding under prior permission category.

One is bound to look at the action against NGOs through the prism of the troubled relationship that Modi had with them during his days as Gujarat CM. That was when NGOs targeted him for his alleged "complicity in the 2002 riots".

Although a large number of NGOs are associated with the Sangh Parivar, it's always eyed foreign-funded organizations with suspicion, seeing them as a nuisance for India's sovereignty. VHP has issues with NGOs that get funds from abroad working in environment, which insist on implementing norms that aren't seen as feasible. This, it points out, impedes growth. Some of these organizations, the Parivar objects, are allegedly involved in proselytasation.

While UPA may have felt that NGOs were too big — 22,702 of them together received Rs 11,546 crore in 2011-12 — to be left unpoliced, one gets the impression that under Modi, there's a new-found keenness to enforce the rules, winked at by earlier governments.

Ford Foundation has been in the NGO funding business for long. But it's only now that it's being asked to comply with FCRA. It had defaulted on these provisions, funding non-FCRA registered NGOs in Gujarat, some of which had associated with campaigns against Modi when he was CM.

The offloading of Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai from a London-bound flight in January was part of the government insistence on making NGOs play by the rules. Though Delhi HC directed the government to expunge the 'offload' remark in her passport, home ministry says they were right in restraining her from indulging in an anti-national campaign on foreign soil, briefing British MPs on the "negative" impact of the Mahan coal project at Singrauli.

Add to this the cancellation of licences of 10,117 NGOs, inspection of accounts of 165 and freezing of accounts of 34, civil society's mistrust of the Modi government has only grown deeper.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Modiversary-Tightening-screws-on-NGO-sector-to-push-development/articleshow/47378705.cms

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Population Foundation of India Call Proposals on Health of the Urban Poor (HUP) program

Deadline: 15 June 2015

The Population Foundation of India (PFI) is currently seeking proposals for Health of the Urban Poor (HUP) program, rapid assessment in five cities in India.

The Health of the Urban Poor (HUP) program is funded by USAID/India. The goal of the program is to improve the health status of the urban poor in the urban locations by adopting effective and efficient sustainable strategic intervention approaches adopting the principle of convergence of the various development programs.

The scope of the program is to document the end-line situation on knowledge, attitude, behavior and practice (KABP) of the target population in terms of MNCHN including WASH issues, health care seeking behavior and preferred choices of health functionaries for different health issues in HUP intervention area.

Venue

The assessment will be conducted in five cities- Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.

Eligibility Criteria

The governmental and non- governmental organisations who have been working in the fields related to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH), Family Planning, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH), Community Action for Health (CAH) and Urban Health are eligible to apply.

Evaluation Process

Methods of evaluation includes-

§ Design: The sample design needs to ensure that study findings are representative of the outcome indicators for slum areas in each city

§ Sampling Frame and Sample Design: Recently conducted household listing Frame will be the sampling frame in all cities

§ Respondents: Eligible women age 15-49 years, who has given birth in last two years.

§ Study Tools: The survey will use abridged version of HUP baseline questionnaire which has earlier been pre-tested.

§ Data collection: Data collection will be done using mini laptop/palmtop/tablets, thus reducing the data entry time along with the data entry error.

Application Process

§ The proposal should include proposal including study design, timelines, key deliverables, budget and any other requirements.

§ The Technical Proposal & Financial Proposal should be submitted in a separate sealed envelope.

§ Type of proposal (Technical or Financial) should be mentioned on the top of the envelope.

§ PFI reserves its right to accept or reject any proposal without assigning any reasons thereof whatsoever.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted via mail.

For more information, please visit PFI India.: http://populationfoundation.in/sites/default/files/Rapid_Assesment.pdf

National Communal Harmony Awards 2015

Deadline: 30 June 2015

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is currently seeking applications from the eligible individuals and organisations for the National Communal Harmony Awards 2015 for their outstanding contribution for promotion of communal harmony and national integration.

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) principally provides assistance for the rehabilitation of child victims of different kinds of societal violence, promotes communal harmony and national integration either independently or through state governments or NGOs, etc., and confers Awards on Individuals and Organizations for their outstanding contribution towards fosters communal harmony & strengthening national integration.

Objectives

§ Discouraging communal ill-will and regional animosities and weaning the misguided elements of society away from the path of violence;

§ Active and energetic propagation of the principles, especially of tolerance and harmony;

§ Mobilising constructive forces of society in the cause of national unity and solidarity and giving them leadership, encouragement and articulation;

§ Devising suitable community activities and programmes for fostering fellow feeling emphasising the secular character of the country;

§ Propagating and working for national integration and harmony between different communities, irrespective of religious, linguistic or ethnic differences; and

§ Asserting the common values and cultural ties which bind or act as unifying factor among the people living in this country.

Award

§ Rs Five Lakh to the individuals on the basis of their contribution for over 10 years

§ Rs Ten Lakh to the organisations on the basis of their contribution for over 5 years

Eligibility Criteria

§ Individual

§ Who has been working in the area of national integration and communal harmony for a minimum period of ten years;

§ Does not hold any elective office in parliament, state legislature or local body constituted under an act of parliament or the state legislature;

§ Is not a member of a political party recognised by the Election Commission of India; and

§ Is above 35 years of age and is alive on the date of nomination.

§ Organisation

§ Who is registered under an appropriate act of parliament or state legislature;

§ Has been working at the all-India level, or at least state level. In case activities of the organisation are at the state level, these should be spatially well dispersed and extend to cover a substantial area of the state; and

§ Should have been functioning for a minimum of five years in the field of promotion of national integration and communal harmony.

How to Apply

All individuals and organisations must apply by filling up the application form in a respective prescribed format.

For more information, please visit NFCH.: http://nfch.nic.in/?q=awards

Monday, May 18, 2015

Students with degree in social work are much in demand: NGOs

JAIPUR: Probably, a degree programme in social work is the only stream in the social science that can fetch you a corporate job. With the corporate social responsibility (CSR) becoming a reality in the country, the graduates in social work are first choice for corporates. Every corporate prefers candidates with master of social work (MSW) background which will help them spend 2% of their profit under the CSR activities.

The particular stream is meant for those students, who are ready to work in adverse conditions and have deep understanding of social issues.

Job consultants agree that MSW professionals, with deep understanding of issues involving weaker sections, can match starting salaries of an MBA or a BTech grad from tier-II colleges.

Nitin Gupta, chairman of Confederation of Indian Industries, Rajasthan chapter, said, "Every year, hundreds of small scale units move to medium and large scale industries that either carry out CSR activities by their own through these professionals or outsource it to NGO's. No doubt, the professionals with this degree are in demand and will continue to be so in coming years."

It is highly unfortunate that even after the scope of this programme, most of the state universities have not even introduced the subject. The situation is such that MSW program in Rajasthan University was scrapped last year. Students are left with no choice but to head towards Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore to pursue degree courses in social work.

Other than CSR, the job prospects for this career option is increasing in both government and non-government sectors. Opportunity in the government sector is mainly in the community development projects pertaining to health, education, rural development, child, woman and tribal welfare etc.

Globalization has widened the scope of employment for students opting for social work as a subject. Some MSW degree holders also prefer to be self-employed by establishing their own NGOs.

The course comprises of both theory and practical sections. Every student has to undergo practical training by interning at various corporate, legal or government organisations for a period of four months. Their performance during this period will have weightage in the final evaluation.

Mohammd Ameen, a project officer with international NGO, Action Aid, said, "Candidates with background in social work always have an upper edge over others in fields like project proposals, fund raising and project coordinators. Their work experience also helps."

In the absence of any premier institute in the state, students are forced to move out of Rajasthan for degree course, though , many private colleges in Rajasthan have been prominently displaying such course in their brochures.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Students-with-degree-in-social-work-are-much-in-demand-NGOs/articleshow/47321864.cms

Mr. Modi, here's why you should stop treating NGOs with suspicion

Dr Rajesh Tandon, who set up an NGO PRIA 30 years ago, argues against the current government's stance of treating NGOs with suspicion. Domestic dissent cannot be any longer equated with ‘hidden operations of the foreign hand’, he says. If citizens of India ask questions about any policy or programme of the State, they have a right to do so, without being asked to bare their source of livelihood.

Having left a teaching career at IIM Calcutta and ventured into the field of social development through a voluntary organisation some years ago, I was surprised to come across an article in The Marxist (June 1984) which argued that action groups and voluntary organisations in India were a part of western imperialist strategy. Written by Prakash Karat, it described such efforts, based on foreign funding, to be undermining to the ‘leadership of the party and misguiding the revolution in the country’.

I found myself confused about my work and the role of a nascent voluntary organisation that I had set up. By championing the cause of participation and talking about the empowerment of the exploited, especially women, I naively believed that I was ‘supporting social transformation’ by contributing, albeit in a very small measure, to redefining relations of power between the rulers and the ruled in India’s democracy.

But 30 years later, I must admit, I am further confused and somewhat bewildered. The current refrain in public discourse, from press releases by India's Ministry of Home Affairs to ‘investigative journalism’, seems to suggest that my work and that of my organisation PRIA (and thousands of other activists and civil society groups around this country) is still suspect, as part of some larger and grander post-modern imperialist strategy.

It was during the height of emergency that the then government of Indira Gandhi promulgated an ordinance in 1976 -- the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). It was aimed at preventing certain leaders like George Fernandes and Subramanian Swamy who were believed to be receiving political and financial support from ‘western powers’ to resist the authoritarian regime during the emergency.

When political democracy was restored in March 1977, George Fernandes became Industries minister in the new Janata Government and gained instant publicity by banning Coca Cola. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Foreign Minister and LK Advani, the Information & Broadcasting Minister in the same Janata Government. The FCRA ordinance was allowed to continue during this regime, neither repealed nor lapsed.

In 1980, when Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister again, she launched an Enquiry Commission known as the Kudal Commission, to investigate voluntary organisations which were associated with the Gandhi Peace Foundation, AVARD and related Gandhian entities, as they were seen to be ‘hosting’ such opposition leaders as Jai Prakash Narayan. Over the next seven years and after producing several volumes of reports, the Kudal Commission concluded that voluntary organisations “gradually digressed from their aims…and some became hotbeds of political activities.” It alleged (though could not prove in any single case) that foreign funds were being abused to “paint a very grave, exaggerated and false picture of the country”; the Commission alleged that this was particularly so in tribal and border regions of the country.

It is, therefore, not surprising that Prakash Karat decided to denounce all such voluntary agencies as ‘a strategy of western imperialism’ by June 1984. The Khalistan Movement was at its peak then and Operation Bluestar had been launched to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple. As the movement was supported by Sikh organisations abroad, in October 1984, the then government of Indira Gandhi promulgated an ordinance further restricting FCRA. At the end of that month, she was assassinated. When Rajiv Gandhi won 80% of the seats in Parliament at the end of December 1984, his government regularised into a law in early January 1985, the amendments to FCRA.

It is in the late 1980s that a large number of voluntary organisations began to focus on building awareness and organisations of the rural poor, particularly amongst tribals and dalits. Participation of the marginalised in their own development began to be accepted as the cornerstone of many government schemes under the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP). I saw that as acknowledgement of the work that PRIA had been doing over the past decade.

It was during this period that several social movements began to spread in the country. Women’s groups began to protest against discrimination and violence that girls and women were facing, even in government programmes. When tribals and other rural poor began to lose their land and livelihoods due to large dams and industrial expansion, they also began to demand their rights. ‘Who gains and who loses in development’ was a common concern of many voluntary organisations by the end of the 1980s.

The voice of dissent, of questioning the dominant development approach, was largely raised through the efforts of voluntary organisations and social activists. The discomfort that such dissenting and questioning voices posed to government officials and political leaders became the basis for harassment of such voluntary organisations throughout the 1990s and since. Of course, the first question always investigated was about the source of funding. And whenever an organisation, so investigated, was found to have received any foreign funding (even if it also received government funding), it was accused of ‘being a part of the foreign hand’.

I am bewildered today because the same discourse is being re-played in 2015. Since the beginning of this century, globalisation and global inter-connectivity are being touted as the major shifts of our generation, supported through a technology revolution. Recent government policies are actively securing ‘foreign hand-shakes’ to bring large sums of investments into the country. Over the past decade, the government of India has invested in ‘foreign lands’ more than one billion dollars annually, to support their development.

Therefore, it is somewhat disturbing that India’s political culture has remained stagnated in the 20th century. Domestic dissent cannot be any longer equated with ‘hidden operations of the foreign hand’. If citizens of India ask questions about any policies and programmes of the state and/or national governments, they have a right to do so, without being asked to bare their source of livelihood. “Good governance” and “Sabka Saath” have gained current political meaning because citizens have been demanding the same for decades.
Citizens are more than voters. Having elected a government as voters, as citizens, they also have a right to comment on the government’s performance throughout its five-year term.

Good governance of democracy is ultimately the responsibility of all citizens.

The author is Founder-President of PRIA, Delhi

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/standpoint-mr-modi-here-s-why-you-should-stop-treating-ngos-with-suspicion-2086135

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 social security schemes that promise Insurance and Pension for All

The establishment of three new security schemes by Government of India: two which are aiming at insurance, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), and one aiming at pension, the Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

The main attributes of the three schemes are listed below:

1. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMSBY) – This scheme, aimed at the age group of 18-70, provides a sustainable one year accidental death-cum-disability insurance of Rs 2 lakh, for both partial and permanent disability. It shall be available to each account holder of a savings bank account holders. The premium charged is that of Rs 12 per annually per subscriber.

2. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) – This scheme, aimed at the age group of 18-50, provides a renewable one year life insurance of Rs 2 lakh, covering death irrespective of cause. This scheme, just like the PMSBY, is also accessible for all account holders of a savings bank. The premium charged is that of Rs 330 annually per subscriber.

3. Atal Pension Yojana (APY) – This scheme, aimed at the age group of 60 and beyond, provides subscribers with a fixed minimum pension of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000, Rs 4,000 or Rs 5,000 per month. This range is completely dependent on the amount of cumulative allowance the subscriber has made between his years from 18 up to 40. This scheme is also aiming to prioritise the unorganised sector of India.

Please contact you bank today.

Foreign Contributions Regulation Act: Old wine in new bottle

FCRA dates back to the Emergency. In its current form, it is the handiwork of the UPA, and the NDA is simply taking up from where the UPA left

The recent cancellation of licences of many not-for-profits allowed to receive foreign funds is an exercise started by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2010 following a series of public protests against government policies.

The Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) dates back to prime minister Indira Gandhi’s emergency rule in 1975-77, when it was put in place to check dissent, according to activists.

“Gradually, subsequent governments made it more and more restrictive,” said Harsh Jaitli, chief executive officer of Voluntary Action Network India, a not-for-profit which promotes volunteering through advocacy.

In its current form, FCRA is the handiwork of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which amended it in 2010 on concerns that global agencies were supporting local groups in protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, says Jaitli. According to him, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is simply taking up from where the UPA left.

“This Act is part of statecraft. Whoever is responsible for running a state at a given point of time uses such act/rules to control dissenting voices,” said Anil Choudhary of INSAF, a not-for-profit whose funds were blocked by the home ministry two years ago. The organization filed a case in the Delhi high court against this order and won in 2013.

Current developments have a global background. Governments around the world perceive an increased need to monitor funds in a shrinking global economy, said advocate Kabir Dixit, who practices in the Supreme Court.

“The impact of Acts like the FCRA boils down to government curbs on freedom of association and relevant linkages can also be traced to an inter-governmental body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which was formed in 1989 to look into the growing funding of terror organizations.”

According to Dixit, following the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, FATF submitted a set of recommendations, “which can be seen as deeply suspicious of the role of NGOs”. This report, along with the growing incidence of terrorism in India in the 1990s, gave birth to FCRA in its current form, said Dixit.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/FBu1oorpKQ6Qg6TgcBlkOP/Foreign-Contributions-Regulation-Act-Old-wine-in-new-bottle.html

Thursday, May 14, 2015

NGOs ask PM to end clampdown, initiate talks

NEW DELHI: Slamming the government for its crackdown on nearly 9,000 NGOs, civil society groups today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end "coercive actions" immediately and amend "opaque" rules and regulations regarding foreign funding to ensure transparency.

In an open letter to Modi, they demanded urgent revocation of punitive actions against the NGOs saying grounds of such measures were "vougue, subjective or flimsy" and sought dialogue between the NGO sector and government to address the issues. The letter has been signed by over 170 organisations from across the country.

The civil society groups asked Modi to amend rules and regulations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and removal of provisions that are amenable to "subjective interpretations" besides seeking a mechanisms for grievance redressal.

"Put an end to coercive actions against NGOs and donors, without reasonable cause or due process, or seek to cripple the ability of these organizations to carry on their legitimate and sanctioned work," they said in the letter which was released at a press briefing.

In a crackdown on NGOs allegedly receiving illegal foreign funds, the government last month had cancelled licences of nearly 9,000 such entities for violation of FCRA.

The US-based Ford Foundation has also been put on the 'watch list' by the Home Ministry, which directed that funds coming from the international donor should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from it. The government had also barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds with immediate effect.

Accusing the government of adopting "double-standards" in acting against the NGOs, the civil society groups particularly questioned regulatory measures against INSAF, Peoples Watch, Sabrang Trust, Greenpeace India, Ford Foundation among others.

In the letter, the groups demanded complete clarity and transparency on various provisions and processes ensure uniform application of laws to all NGOs, trusts, foundations, and societies.

"Funds are being frozen, intelligence reports are being selectively released to paint NGOs in poor light, disbursal of funds are being subjected to case-by-case clearance, and their activities are reportedly being placed on 'watch lists'.

"As a result several NGO projects have shut down, donors are unable to support work, and there is an overall atmosphere of State coercion and intimidation in India's civil society space," they said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NGOs-ask-PM-to-end-clampdown-initiate-talks/articleshow/47205663.cms

Foreign Institutions Funding NGOs Without Clearance

Foreign donor agencies are not required to seek clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs for funding Non-Governmental Organisations/individuals, as only NGOs working in India are required to seek registration or obtain prior permission under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 from Ministry of Home Affairs.

There were inputs from various agencies that certain amounts have been credited from certain foreign institutions/agencies to some Indian NGOs which are not registered under the provisions of FCRA, 2010. Hence, to keep a watch on such recipients, the credits from such foreign institutions/agencies have been put under prior reference category under FCRA, 2010. On various occasions since December 2011, 16 donor agencies have been put in prior reference category.

This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to a question by Shri Ravi Prakash Verma in the Rajya Sabha today. Delhi May 13, 2015

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/foreign-institutions-funding-ngos-without-clearance-115051301155_1.html

Financial Assistance to NGOs

There are intelligence inputs of some organizations diverting funds for purposes other than the permitted use of foreign funds. On the basis of the complaints of various violations of FCRA, 24 cases have so far been referred to CBI and 9 cases have been referred to State Police for investigation. In 2011-12 registrations of 4138 associations under FCRA were cancelled due to non-submission of Annual Returns during 2006-07 to 2008-09. The list of the such associations has been posted on public domain of Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs website.

The Government monitors the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution received by any 'person' including Non-Governmental Organisations in the country in terms of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and the Rules framed under the Act.

The FCRA, 2010 provides for NGOs to receive foreign funds after registration or prior permission. Every application of NGOs for registration or granting Prior Permission is decided with inputs from the concerned security agencies. The NGOs, who have been registered or granted prior permission for receiving foreign funds, are required to submit annual returns of accounts. These are scrutinized and wherever required, physical inspection is conducted. Based on the findings of the inspection team, appropriate action is taken.

The organizations receiving foreign contribution are required to submit Annual Accounts for each financial year within a period of nine months from closure of the year i.e. by 31st December. Such Annual Accounts are to be submitted in the prescribed format duly audited by a Chartered Accountant. FCRA provides for a reporting mechanism by the recipients of foreign contribution as well as by the Banks.

This was stated by Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju in Lok Sabha today. November 25, 2014

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/financial-assistance-to-ngos-114112500990_1.html

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ford funding to non-FCRA NGOs, Setalvad's Sabrang Trust

New Delhi: Ford Foundation has funded several NGOs, which were not registered under the FCRA, and another organisation with which activist Teesta Setalvad is associated.

"There are inputs from security agencies that some amounts have been credited from Ford Foundation to some NGOs which are not registered under the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010.

"Hence, to keep a watch on such recipients, the credits from Ford Foundation has been put under prior permission category under FCRA 2010," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha replying a written question.

Rijiju said Teesta Setalvad is associated with two NGOs namely Citizen for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust which are registered under FCRA.

"As far as funding from Ford Foundation is concerned, only Sabrang Trust has been funded," he said.

Replying another question, the Minister said in 2014, penalty of Rs 51.99 lakh was imposed on 24 NGOs for receiving and utilising foreign contribution without registration or prior permission.

Till date, 30 cases of violation involving misappropriation or misutilisation of foreign contribution have been referred to CBI of which six cases resulted in conviction.

Ten cases of violation involving mis-appropriation of foreign contribution have been referred to the concerned state police and accounts of 34 associations have been frozen for violation of various provisions of FCRA.

A total of 69 NGOs have been prohibited from receiving foreign contribution, 16 foreign donor agencies have been placed under prior permission category.

"Registration of 10,117 associations has been cancelled for not filing the annual returns continuously for three years and even not responding to show cause notices issued," he said.

In 2014, government has conducted inspections in 69 off-site and 50 on-site locations for violation of various provisions of the FCRA.

Till date, in 2015, 12 off-site and 24 on-site inspections have been conducted and violations noticed in majority of the cases related in clubbing foreign contribution account with domestic accounts i.E. Failure to maintain exclusive accounts as required by FCRA, failure to submit annual accounts within the stipulated period.

Transfer of foreign contribution to unregistered NGOs, utilisation of foreign contribution amount for the purposes different from the grant of different from the objectives of the recipient NGO, registration of assets are some of the other reasons of taking action against NGOs.

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/ford-funding-to-non-fcra-ngos-setalvads-sabrang-trust_1590349.html

The Seven Deadly Sins ... under FCRA

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, most NGOs get into trouble with FCRA for one of the following reasons:

1. Clubbing foreign contribution account with domestic accounts i.e. failure to maintain exclusive accounts as required by FCRA,

2. Failure to submit annual accounts within the stipulated period,

3. Transfer of foreign contribution to unregistered NGOs,

4. Utilization of foreign contribution amount for the purposes different from the grant or different from the objectives of the recipient NGO,

5. Registration of assets from foreign contribution in the individual names of office bearers rather than in the name of NGO,

6. Utilization of more than 50% of foreign contribution received in a financial year on administrative expenses, and,

7. change of more than 50% of the office bearers without prior approval

Therefore, if you like your FCRA registration and want to keep it, make sure you don't fall prey to temptation. For temptation leads to sin. And sin can land you in purgatory!

References:

1. 'Home Ministry lists 7 violations for action against NGOs,' Economic Times, 5-May-2015

2. The Holy Bible: Book of Proverbs 6:16-19

3. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Applicable in India

Caveat Donator!

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, we were always told. However, times have changed since the Greeks gifted a horse to the people of Troy. They have changed even more since the FCRA 2010 became law. Donors are now coming under intense Government scrutiny.

In an unprecedented series of administrative actions, the FCRA authorities are placing donor agencies on the prior-approval list. So far, 15 donors are believed to have been placed on this list:

1. Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA);

2. Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR);

3. Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aids (CORDAID);

4. Dan Church Aid (DCA);

5. Mercy Corps, USA;

6. Inter Church Peace Council-Pax Christi (IKV-PC), Netherlands;

7. HIVOS Netherlands;

8. ICCO Stretegische Samenwerking (ICCO), Netherlands;

9. Greenpeace International;

10. Climate Work Foundation (CWF), USA;

11. 350.Org;

12. BIC, USA;

13. Avaaz, USA

14. Sierra Club USA

15. Ford Foundation, USA

However, the Home Ministry has informed the Parliament that 16 donors have been placed 'under the prior-permission category'.

Clearly, there is one more donor on the list, whose name is not yet known. Will they please raise their hand?

References:

1. RBI/2014-15/408 DCBR.BPD (PCB/RCB) Cir.No.13/14.01.062/2014-15 dated January 15, 2015; Available athttp://icmai.in/upload/pd/RBI-Circular-16012015.pdf

2. Names of 10 donors are on the RBI circular referred above. Other five names are taken from press reports.

3. 'Home Ministry lists 7 violations for action against NGOs,' Economic Times, 5-May-2015, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/home-ministry-lists-7-violations-for-action-against-ngos/articleshow/47158921.cms

Et Tu, Bill?

Considering the Government's resolve to close the gates on private foreign aid, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is also under scrutiny. However, as the MHA officers are at pains to point out, this scrutiny is not as piercing as with the others. What is the reason for this review of an agency which focuses primarily on health?

According to one source, this is due to a discrepancy in the amount reported by one of the recipients, Public Health Foundation of India. Foreign Contribution in India is reported on the basis of actual receipt, whereas donor agencies typically report the full amount on making a commitment (accrual basis).

Another source links this to the BMGF's support to various drug companies for clinical trials, including death of seven tribal girls in 2009, allegedly during trials conducted by PATH, a grant recipient.

If true, then this is another illustration of how a donor agency could face difficulties due to actions of a grantee.

References:

1. 'After Greenpeace and Ford Foundation, Home Ministry shifts focus to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation', Economic Times, 6-May-15. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/after-greenpeace-and-ford-foundation-home-ministry-shifts-focus-to-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation/articleshow/47169086.cms?from=mdr

2. 'Now, Gates Foundation is Under Govt Scanner', Ahmedabad Mirror, 6-May-15. http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/news/india/Now-Gates-Foundation-is-under-govt-scanner/articleshow/47167477.cms

3. Julius Caesar may never have uttered the famous phrase ' Et tu, Brute?', attributed to him by William Shakespeare. But the phrase lives on. -Ed.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Instruction to all the NGOs regarding FCRA letters/envelops


Friends, please note the following communication from MHA; while sending any document to FCRA wing please follow the same.

How to get Income Tax permission for Indian NGOs to work for the‪ Earthquake‬ affected in ‪‎Nepal‬:

Indian ‪‎NGOs can now seek permission u/s 11(1)(c) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 for rendering help to the victims of Nepal Earthquake. The IT dept will endeavour to process applications within 2 working days of receiving completed applications.

India certified NGOs should find it relatively easy to submit required documents.

The applications seeking approval u/s 11(1)(c) may be submitted in the office of Member(IT), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi.
A list of documents to be annexed with the application is given below.
Document required to be furnished while seeking exemption u/s 11(1)(c) of the Income-tax Act, 1961
1. Certified Copies of Trust Deed, Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association (as applicable) and PAN Card
2. Copy of order granting registration u/s 12AA of the Income Tax Act
3. Amount in INR and year in which it is proposed to be remitted/ incurred
4. In case money is to be remitted, a note on the purpose for remitting the money giving the details of remittee and the manner in which the sum remitted is generally proposed to be utilized
5. Copies of the latest IT Return along with Account Statements
6. Copy of the latest Assessment orders, if any in last five years
7. Details of pending prosecution launched by Income Tax Department, if any
8. Details of any proceeding initiated/pending for violation of FCRA regulations, if any
The applicant may give his e-mail id, phone number, fax number and complete address for correspondence.
For any clarification, the applicants may contact Shri Shailendra Kumar, DCIT-OSD (ITA-I), CBDT at (011) 23095479, 23093070, e-mail: shailendra.kumar82@nic.in
Find details at: http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/news/permission-under-section-11-1-c-28-04-2015.pdf

http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in

Job position: Programme Coordinator – Emergency

Programme Coordinator – Emergency

SOS-Children’s Villages International

International Office - Asia
Location: Faridabad (India)
Last Date: May 08, 2015

Email: Asia.Recruitment@sos-kd.org

Website: http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org

SOS Children’s Villages International, International Office - Asia
needs
Programme Coordinator – Emergency

It is a non-governmental and non-denominational organisation entirely funded by private contributions. The objective of SOS Children’s Villages International is to help through Member SOS Children’s Villages Associations, orphaned and abandoned children regardless of their ethnic roots, nationality and religion by giving them a family, a permanent home and a sound basis for an independent life. We adhere to our Child Protection Policy for safeguarding children. The operations of SOS Children’s Villages International represents a round-up of 133 countries in which it is active and has under its wings 1539 projects including 491 Children’s Villages.

POSITION PURPOSE

The mission of the position is to:
Coordinate and support the emergency relief work.
Responsible to provide support in documentation of emergency programme such as humanitarian needs; Response planned/ taken and Community mapping.

JOB PROFILE

Ensure coordination with various stakeholders; understand the community through participatory way.
Fulfil all documentation needs of Emergency Relief Programme such as humanitarian needs, response planned/ taken and community mapping.
Provide support to identify situations that may increase risks for children and bring it to the notice of supervisor for corrective actions.
Coordinate the provision of structured activities that address the protection, educational and psychosocial needs of children and adolescents.
Coordinate with supervisor to ensure integrated programming/services delivery; develop programme curriculum (considering age, gender, disabilities, culture and relevancy).
Coordinate in community mobilization and volunteers’ work assignment.
Keep a track on monitoring & evaluation framework and its relevant indicators.
Provide support in initiating new family strengthening programmes.
Provide support in successful completion and documentation of the frame of action initiated for the Emergency Relief work

Essential Values, Behaviors and Skills:
Good verbal and written communication skills in English and local language.
Fair knowledge of Programme Development.
High interpersonal skills and team oriented
Good computer skills.
Willing to travel as and when required.

CANDIDATE PROFILE
Should have degree or diploma in Social Science or development related subjects
Should have experience of 3-4 years in programme. Experience in documenting and supporting the execution of emergency programme will be an added advantage.
Should have some knowledge of community development
Fair knowledge of UNCRC

Note: Initially this position is for Emergency Relief Programme in SOS Nepal. Based on need, it may be utilised for other locations.

How to apply

Salary will be commensurate with experience and will match industry standards. Interested applicants should send their application via e.mail to Asia.Recruitment@sos-kd.org latest by May 08, 2015. It is must for all the applicants to mention the ‘job-title’ in the subject line of e.mail while sending their application. Only short listed candidates will be intimated.

Odisha govt. announces raise in minimum wages

Odisha government on Friday announced a hike in the minimum wages of skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled workers based on the recommendation of the State Minimum Wage Advisory Committee.

While the minimum wage for an unskilled labourer has been raised to Rs. 200 from Rs. 150 per day, the semi-skilled workers will get Rs. 220 each instead of Rs. 170 a day, a government notification stated.

The skilled worker will get Rs. 240 daily, up from Rs. 190 earlier. The minimum remuneration of highly skilled workers has been raised to Rs. 260 from Rs. 205, it said. “The workers are in fact pilots of development. The state government is committed for their welfare,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said while announcing the new minimum wages on the occasion of International Workers’ Day.

The notification has given 60-day time for objections and suggestions on the announcement of minimum wages from trade unions, workers, stake holders and from the general public. The minimum wages were raised based on the recommendation of the State Minimum Wage Advisory Committee for raising the minimum wages of workers of different categories.

'Bad Words' NGOs, Activists Must Adhere to Public Interest to Regain Lost Meaning

In all democracies, the politician and the bureaucrat, who are two sides of the same governance coin, are seen as necessary evil. In India, the bureaucrat is pitied or censured or tolerated, while the politician is seen with utter contempt. In recent years, otherwise ‘good’ words have started assuming adverse connotations. India has been home, through the ages, to countless sadhus, sanyasis, and jeevanmuktas. Ramana and Ramakrishna are two among many recent names who come to mind; I dare say there are thousands of great yogis and pious men who are in meditation even today in every part of India—however, the word ‘Godman’ evokes a pejorative image, thanks to the shenanigans of a few scoundrels. India clearly was more secular in the first few decades after Independence. Has communalism raised its ugly head in recent years, only after the Constitution was changed to declare India ‘secular’—thanks to the efforts of vote-bank opportunists, masquerading as ‘secular’? In recent times, have the words ‘NGO’ and ‘activist’ assumed a negative image?

In any democracy, NGOs have a major role to play in social sectors— education, public health and so on; and also in organising opinion on major public policy issues. Society benefits from the presence of such agencies, which supplement the impersonal approach of the State, with attention given to specific local issues, with sympathy, understanding and local interest. The NGOs are expected to play a major supplementation role to the formal governance system— that is the theory. Indeed, India has benefited by a very large number of NGOs who have operated in all parts, in diverse fields, bringing understanding, succor and a local touch. However, partly due to official ‘support’, and other reasons, we have increasingly seen the spectacle of NGOs cropping up for non-altruistic purposes —mainly self-aggrandisement of socialites; indeed increasingly as vehicles for earning money; also lately as instruments to support political objectives—all contrary to the self-negating, public-purpose, altruistic nature of such organisations as they ought to be. Is this not to be expected in a society where people enter politics, in reality, to amass wealth through unethical means? Can anyone deny that this is largely the primary purpose of the ‘politician’?

The recent attention to Greenpeace and Ford Foundation has brought in the question of ‘foreign funding’ of Indian NGOs. Old-timers would remember how in the 60s and 70s, the PL 480 funds were used to ‘influence’ Indian policy, so that the Republic, as emerging then, would develop in the ‘right’ lines—that is to the liking of certain world powers. Major ‘think tanks’ had been set up in India to ‘guide’ Indian policy, with covert foreign funding—some of them continue to exist and try to influence public opinion through ‘research’ and ‘expert advice’. Many would recall the reach of agencies like CIA which have used various means, fair and mostly foul, to bring into their ambit senior politicians, bureaucrats, media persons—insiders are aware of all of this. There is no charity in international relations—self-interest is the mainspring. Indeed, many of the Bretton Woods and other post-War institutions were set up by developed countries as instruments for control over the newly emerging developing nations—he who pays the piper calls the tune.

India needs NGOs in different walks of life, particularly in social sectors and in rural development. ‘Activists’, civil society thinkers and opinion-makers are entitled to adequate room in a healthy society, and given the space for even promoting ‘contrary’ opinion —the ability to ‘guide’ society’s opinions should not be left exclusively to the government of the day. A couple of key elements, however, should not be lost sight of. The NGOs or activists need to be fully transparent—they are in public space. The public should have full view of their motivations, funding sources and modus operandi. Every foreign-funded NGO needs to have its books fully open, particularly in a country where so many political, communal and other security and sensitive issues abound. Note that the Homeland Security Department in the US looks at all cross-border and related domestic issues with a hawk eye, perhaps with hundred times the intensity and ruthlessness as applied by our internal security apparatus; also note that there have been no major security breaches in the US since 9/11.

The internal security apparatus naturally will test every inflow from the stand-point of public interest. This term cannot be defined to meet all circumstances—it is more a value-loaded perspective. The courts, of course, will moderate such scrutiny. The benefit of doubt, however, will have to go to the official assessment—one only can hope that it will be fair, unprejudiced. There can be no hard and fast rule— NGOs and activists need to conform to the concept of ‘public interest’ in its purest interpretation. Indeed, the author of this piece is an activist (perhaps in a ‘passive’ way), inter-alia having backed important PILs of significance, as also advocating that GM crops should be ushered in only after due care and study. The country surely needs many, many more NGOs and activists. tsrsubramanian@gmail.com

Subramanian is a former Cabinet Secretary

Source: http://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/voices/Bad-Words-NGOs-Activists-Must-Adhere-to-Public-Interest-to-Regain-Lost-Meaning/2015/05/02/article2791094.ece

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kolkata NGO designs Bio Toilets to battle open defecation



Bengal's Nadia to become first open defecation-free district in country, claims Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that April 30th will be observed as Nirmal Bangla Divas—an initiative to achieve open defecation-free districts in the state. According to the state government, West Bengal’s Nadia district is set to become country’s first district that has become freed of open defecation. “On April 30th, we will make a formal announcement of Nadia becoming first Indian district to earn Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Hooghly and Bardhaman are placed on second and third rank respectively,” Banerjee claimed.

The state government has further claimed that it has planned to set up individual household latrines (IHHL) across 8.47 lakh households in 2014-15—the highest in the country. “As part of the Nirmal Bangla (Clean Bengal) Mission, as many as 3.47 lakh toilets were set up across Nadia. These were constructed not just in the interiors of Nadia, but also in the urban centres and townships. By March 2015, all households in the district had access to toilets,” an official statement said.

UNICEF rings alarm against open defecation

According to UNICEF, slow progress on sanitation and the entrenched practice of open defecation among millions around the world continue to put children and their communities at risk. Some 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have adequate toilets and among them 1 billion defecate in the open – in fields, bushes, or bodies of water – putting them, and especially children, in danger of deadly faecal-oral diseases like diarrhoea, claims UNICEF. India, with 597 million (half the population) practising open defecation, also has high levels of stunting. Globally, some 1.9 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990. However, progress has not kept up with population growth and the Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation is unlikely to be reached by 2015 at current rates of progress.

Green Sanitation Foundation

In the wake of this announcement, iamin contacted Green Sanitation Foundation, a voluntary organisation in Kolkata that works against open defection to find a solution to the lack of proper sanitation facilities in India. As we interacted with Green Sanitation Foundation’s director Sudip Sen, he shared the concept of‘green toilets’ with us. Sen’s organisation strives to improve hygiene and sanitation in India through the use of Bio Toilets.

What are Bio Toilets?

Green Sanitation Foundation has launched Bio Toilets. These toilets can convert human waste into a non toxic, non-contaminating water compatible substance by maintaining the environmental standards. The process of conversion is facilitated by the application of multi strain bacteria culture. This process involves the aerobic forms of bacteria. “The major advantage of these bio toilets is that they do not need a sewage system to operate. They treat solid waste and convert it to liquid form, which is harmless and does not contaminate groundwater, soil, etc,” said Sen. Here’s a video that features bio toilets:

https://youtu.be/wOrosqIt05k

Cost factor

As claimed by the NGO, the cost of installing a Bio Toilet ranges between Rs.25 - 30,000, which includes training on O&M, communication efforts, etc. “Multiple bio toilets will cost more. GSF is also working on developing solar powered community bio-toilets,” added Sen.

Source: http://www.iamin.in/en/jadavpur/news/kolkata-ngo-designs-bio-toilets-battle-open-defecation-58620

Check NGOs Seeking Govt Funds for Duplication: Maneka

Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi today said that NGOs and welfare organisations seeking funds for government's schemes should be checked for duplication as many ministries end up funding them for similar purposes.

She asked MPs to identify genuine NGOs doing good work at a meeting of Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to the Ministry.

The WCD Ministry had recently come across a large number of fake applications under its "Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women" (STEP) scheme, aimed at providing employability skills to women.

"Government should assist the organisations in their task of skill development of women. We will try our best to ensure India's money goes to the best," Gandhi said.

The meeting was called to discuss various aspects related to skill training to women under STEP scheme.

Addressing the Members of the Committee, Gandhi said the training should not only be restricted to few areas like sewing, stitching and embroidery but should also include various diverse activities like making food items, rope making and knitting which are in demand and can generate easy economic opportunities for women.

She informed that the STEP scheme will be revived later this year and the proposals of projects will be uploaded on internet and if the proposals are rejected, the reasons thereof will also be shown.

Source: http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/check-ngos-seeking-govt-funds-for-duplication-maneka/894084

The crackdown: Is the government really at war with NGOs?

The government's recent move to cancel the registration of nearly 9,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for failing to provide details of foreign funding for three years starting from financial year 2009-10 clearly shows that it has intensified its ongoing major crackdown on non-profit organisation operating in the country. The move came soon after the government suspended the licence of Greenpeace India and put US-based Ford Foundation on a security watch list, necessitating government approval to carry out their activities in the country.

A few months ago, the home ministry said lobby groups such as Greenpeace were damaging the country's economy by campaigning against genetically modified food, mining and power projects.

The Ford Foundation was put on a watch list following accusation that it was providing funding to a local group run by an activist who is a Modi critic. This has given some fodder to Modi's critics to argue that the government's move to restrict the movement of foreign funding to local charities is an attempt to scuttle the voices of those, who oppose the government's economic agenda.

The sudden spurt in the number of circulars issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) against organisations registered under The Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) in the recent past has proved that the ministry has intensified its scrutiny of NGOs.

In December, an RBI circular listed NGOs such as Danish International Development Agency, US-based Mercy Corps, US, Netherlands-based Hivos International and US-based Climate Work Foundation and Greenpeace in a list of those whose funds should be monitored by banks. Any NGO receiving funds from them will now need prior permission of the MHA before they bring in the funds. Also, from April 1, all organisations registered under the FCRA have to reapply for licence within a year.

The previous Manmohan Singh government too issued notices to NGOs that hadn't filed their returns during 2006-2009. But critics say the crackdown has become more pronounced under the Modi government because it wants to stifle voices against its economic and growth agenda.

The government's supporters say this increased scrutiny is to safeguard national security. The significant spurt in cross-border terrorist activities over the last couple of decades, which reared its ugly head following a series of terror strikes including 9/11 attacks in the US and 26/11 carnage in Mumbai, has forced the government to track every penny that is flown to the country by NGOs and think-tanks to ensure that the money is not used to fund terrorist or secessionist activities.

The government suspect that most of these organisations misuse funds by indulging in money laundering and campaigning against development work.
The strain in the relationship between bureaucracy and the civil society in the country that is increasingly being based on mutual suspicion and hostility is also cited as a reason for the crackdown on NGOs, which activist groups accuse as an attempt to silence free speech, opposing views and dissent.

Both Indian and foreign donors are shying away from engaging with NGOs which work in governance, environment and human rights as the government is seen increasingly hostile to and suspicious about activities in the space supported by donor money.

The government's 'blacklisted' of foreign donors amply indicates that those working on environment issues and climate change, and those organisations which have an alternative vision and definition of growth elicit government ire more than others.

The fall in fund flow to the NGOs in the country in the recent past is also seen as a fallout of the deterioration in mobilising funds for charity and development aid because of the global economic recession as well as the projection of India as an 'emerging economic power'.

Following the intensified government scrutiny, donor entities are likely to go slow on their funding plans till the political opposition to the government's approach against charities becomes more visible and vocal in the public domain.

This may also lead to a situation where funding for NGO activities will become more decentralised—smaller donations from a large section of the civil society supporting social entities that genuinely pursue larger common good instead of a few big funders controlling fund flow.
While the government cannot be criticised for putting national security on the top of its agenda, whether voices of dissent should be stifled in a mammoth democracy like ours needs to be debated.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.in/The-crackdown-Is-the-government-really-at-warwith-NGOs/articleshow/47100618.cms

FAST TRACK CBDT APPROVAL FOR NEPAL SUPPORTING NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

Responding to several requests for Earthquake Relief to Nepal, CBDT has come forward in fast tracking the procedure for giving approval for any NGOs wanting to spend money in that country. Vide a press release CBDT has promised to give approvals within 2 days. Normally the process is quite a long one and takes anywhere from 3-4 months.

All those NGOs interested may contact CBDT website for the procedure to be followed. Srr-Foundation have also provided copy of instructions on their website at following link:

BSE, two others plan CSR platform

The initiative ‘Sammaan’ would help corporates access implementing agencies, whose credentials have been verified, to carry out CSR works

New Delhi: A platform to help companies find implementing agencies for carrying out social welfare activities will soon be launched by leading stock exchange BSE along with industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and think tank IICA.

The initiative ‘Sammaan’, launched in New Delhi on Wednesday, would help corporates access implementing agencies, whose credentials have been verified, to carry out corporate social responsibility (CSR) works under the companies law.

Under the Companies Act, 2013 certain classes of profitable companies are required to spend at least 2% of their three-year annual average net profits towards CSR activities.

BSE said in a statement it has collaborated with the two other entities to form the platform in order to enable companies undertake effective CSR. A recent analysis by BSE showed that there are 1,294 companies on the exchange that are required to make CSR spend under the law.

“There are an estimated 20 lakh implementing agencies registered in India. Corporates, especially the small and medium ones, will need assistance to identify an NGO that they can partner with for their CSR compliance,” the statement said.

Implementing agencies on Sammaan would provide clear and defined programmes, objectives, expected outcomes and budgets. “A Letter of Fulfilment provided by BSE to the corporate donors will increase the credibility of the implementing agencies and their programmes,” it added.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Companies/9rNF60NgX5VQweX5pKWtwJ/BSE-two-others-plan-CSR-platform.html

Platform for ‘compassionate capitalism’ brings together corporates, NGOs

NEW DELHI, APRIL 29:

In an endeavour to usher in ‘compassionate capitalism’, the Bombay Stock Exchange, along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) has launched a CSR initiative called Sammaan.

Launching the platform here on Wednesday, President Pranab Mukherjee urged industry leaders to use their business acumen to add value to society at large. “You have a bigger purpose than to merely earn profits. Just as you add value to your shareholders’ wealth, it is equally important to add value to the society at large”, he said.

‘CSR nothing new’

He said the notion of CSR is not new to India. “Mahatma Gandhi had espoused the socio-economic philosophy of trusteeship. It provided a means for wealthy people to be trustees to look after the welfare of the common man,” he said, adding that CSR has gradually evolved into the corporate framework.

Speaking at the launch event, BSE’s non-executive Chairman S Ramadorai said by law, 1,294 BSE-listed companies are required to spend about ₹8,000 crore on CSR in 2015-16. Of these, 1,167 companies have a CSR budget of less than ₹10 crore, he said, adding that the platform can facilitate corporates in selecting, monitoring and bringing together NGOs for CSR projects CII President Sumit Mazumdar said “business cannot succeed in societies that are struggling,” and underlined two key social development enablers that CII will focus on – women & child development and public health & sanitation.

Sammaan will serve as an intermediary between corporate India and non-government organisations with regard to various corporate social responsibility projects. It will also provide corporates with a programme dashboard to monitor funding and progress of their CSR programmes.

Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/csr-platform-to-bring-together-corporates-ngos/article7154430.ece

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CBDT Permission for Nepal on Fast Track

Tax-exempt NGOs wanting to take up earthquake relief work in Nepal need CBDT prior-approval for this. This permission normally takes 3-6 months. However, the CBDT today announced that the permission will be granted within two working days.

To get the permission you need to submit a completed application, setting out details of what you want to do, the area, and the amount to be spent. More details on this are given in AuditAble 12: Taxing NGO Programs Outside India.

Reference:

1. AuditAble 12: Taxing NGO Programs Outside India (www.AccountAid.net)

2. Sec. 11(1)(c) of Income Tax Act, 1961

3. CBDT Press Release dated 28-Apr-2015 (http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Lists/Press%20Releases/Attachments/359/CBDT-Press-Release-28-04-2015.pdf)

The cancellation of 9000 NGO’s by MHA

Dear All,

It is to bring to your notice that there are fresh media reports of the cancellation of 9000 NGO’s by MHA. We request you to not get panicked by this information as these are cumulative cancellations ever since the new FCRA 2010 was enacted and no fresh cancellation has taken place. These cancellations are due to most of them not filing their annual returns by the due dates and many of these organizations did not intimate the MHA about their change in addresses. Even upon contacting these organizations, the MHA never received any response from these organizations. Attached is the cancellation order within this email order http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/FCRACAncellationOrder_270415.pdf and for further updates we will keep providing the needed information.

Regards
VANI team

Attention: JAN AUSHADHI: GENERIC MEDICINE CAMPAIGN.



The Jan Aushadhi scheme launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Govt. of India aims to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all through special outlet known as Jan Aushadhi store opened/to be opened in each district of all the States. The new business plan approved by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in August, 2013 brought out it no. of changes to make the campaign a real success.
For More Information please visit: http://janaushadhi.gov.in 

CSR, tax laws not favourable for international aid

Indian companies are mostly extending aid in Nepal by leveraging their own businesses as a goodwill gesture

Indian companies, led by ITC Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd and SpiceJet Ltd, have rushed to the aid of earthquake-ravaged Nepal, and many more are looking for ways to provide help.

For now, Indian companies can mostly extend aid by leveraging their own businesses or services as a goodwill gesture.

For instance, ITC is supplying the National Disaster Relief Management (NDRM) centre, which is involved with disaster relief, with 200,000 food packets and nine tonnes of biscuits and ready-to-eat food.

“We will be looking at deploying more material aid based on the need. For now, since we are food manufacturers, we could address this need urgently,” said an ITC spokesperson as the death toll from Saturday’s quake and scores of aftershocks crossed 4,000.

Airtel offered free calls on its network from India to Nepal for 48 hours from Saturday.

SpiceJet said it is offering free flights from Kathmandu to India to people who cannot afford to pay the full fare. In addition, it is helping non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and relief organizations to travel to Nepal in a flight that has been put together for relief measures.

Mobile wallet provider Paytm said it will match the donation by its customers and will put the contributions into a relief fund run by the Indian government’s Nepal-specific relief fund.

The companies’ move marks a departure from past practice in two respects: so far companies have responded to disasters in India, and they have done so by extending financial aid.

Noshir Dadrawala, chief executive of the Mumbai-based Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, a not-for-profit working in the area of corporate social initiatives, said companies will not be able to tap their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for international aid, as government rules require that these funds be spent on CSR activities in India.

Besides the restrictions on CSR placed by the Companies Act of 2013, charitable funding outside of India is not easy to carry out under the Income Tax Act, 1961, and it is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.

“Every trust, society or section 8 (previously section 25) company that enjoys tax exemptions is required to apply its income for charitable purpose only in India. For a charitable organization to send funds out of India, it would require the permission of the Reserve Bank of India and the funds could only be used “for a cause in which India is interested”, says Dadrawala.

While companies are routing their relief material through government agencies such as NDRM or through the ministry for external affairs, which in turn sends the material with the Indian Air Force, Indian-registered NGOs may not find it easy to engage in relief operations in Nepal, even when they have the expertise.

Goonj, an NGO that works in disaster relief, has found its work hampered by these rules, and has been unable to send immediate relief material even though it is ready.

“We have good experience in disaster response and given the scale of the disaster, there is a great need to mobilize resources quickly. We have two truckloads of material—medicines, blankets, tents—ready to be deployed. But we are awaiting permission from the home ministry and external affairs ministry,” said Anshu Gupta, founder, Goonj.

Ketto.org, an online crowdfunding platform, has created a page for raising funds for Nepal relief, and its co-founder Varun Sheth said it raised close toRs.6 lakh in just a day. “We are trying to get as many individuals to raise funds as possible. Currently, about 21 individuals are campaigning for funds, including actor Kunal Kapoor,” Sheth said. They are aiming to raise about Rs.25 lakh in the course of the month and the money will be used to assemble disaster kits which will contain tarpaulin, mats, soaps, blankets, etc. Ketto will work with CARE India, an NGO that deals with disaster preparedness and response among other issues. CARE India in turn hopes to supply these items to CARE Nepal.

CARE India CEO Muhammad Musa said the NGO has mobilized 1,500 kits that will support 9,000 people. The kits contain essential items such as tarpaulin for making tents, water, hygiene kits, etc. Like Goonj, CARE is also awaiting permission from the government to send the material across to Nepal.

Dadrawala said cross-border laws are complicated when it comes to providing aid, and suggested the rules be relaxed in major disasters like the Nepal quake in order to allow aid to flow freely.

Officials at the ministry of corporate affairs refused to offer a comment for this story.

Dadrawala said given the restrictions, the best way to deploy funds would be to route them through a local unit in Nepal or through the Prime Minister’s relief fund.

Donations to the Prime Minister’s relief fund are acceptable under CSR rules. The Prime Minister’s relief fund is being deployed to give compensation to the kin of those who have died in the Nepal earthquake.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Companies/nakU1vpalqWSVM6Ti0hJJM/CSR-tax-laws-not-favourable-for-international-aid.html