Thursday, August 21, 2014

International conference in South Odisha

Dear Friends,

We are glad to inform that GENOA-Global Ecovillage Network-Oceania and Asia, based at Japan organizes International Conference on Ecovillage for sustainable rural Development- a model for adaptation of climate change scheduled between 31st Oct and 2nd Nov followed by exposure visit to indigenous ecovillage and self healing session namely “Inner Dance” and assembly of Next Gen for youth scheduled between 3rd Nov and 7th Nov 2014 at siddharthvillage community school of ecology, Kakiriguma, Koraput,Orissa. Around eighty participants from various countries are expected to attend the conference.

We request you to inform and nominate your staffs for practically learning ecovillage model for climate change adaptation.

We send you in the attachment the flyer of international conference, Next Gen assembly Inner dance and exposure, for your reference.

Thanking you and with warmest regards,

Yours Sincerely

G.John

Executive Director
THREAD, Siddharthvillage
Orissa, INDIA

GENOA International Conference 2014


Next GEN International - 2014


Inner dance Retreat


Exposure


Call for Application: ICIMOD- Asia Pacific Youth Forum and Training Workshop 2014

Deadline: 24 August 2014

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) invites application for Asia Pacific Youth Forum and Training workshop on “Adaptation in the Mountains: Issues and Gaps beyond Boundaries.” It encourages youth between 23 and 32 ages from Asia- Pacific region to actively participate.

ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre. It aims to assist mountain people to understand globalisation and climate changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues.

Sponsorship Covers:

§ International Air fares

§ Accommodation

§ Food

§ Local Transport


Eligibility Criteria:

§ Youth between the ages of 23 and 32 from the Asia-Pacific region with an academic or a professional degree in related fields are eligible.

§ Candidate who demonstrated leadership in sustainable development issues working with governmental and non-governmental organizations can apply.

§ Candidate must have a passport/national Identity card from their stated country.

For more information, please visit ICIMOD: http://www.icimod.org/?q=14435

New online registry envisioned as a ‘Facebook for NGOs’

MANILA, Philippines — An online portal that will have a listing of non-government organizations (NGO) around the world will be launched in December to serve as a networking tool among the civil society groups as well as a platform to elevate professionalism among members.

“In layman’s language, this is Facebook for NGOs,” Ingrid Srinath, Public Interest Registry (PIR), said in a press conference in Makati.

Srinath was referring to the online portal globalngo.org, a website that will contain a directory of all NGOs who will avail of the newly introduced .NGO domain. PIR, a US-based non-profit which administers the .ORG domain, is now promoting the use of .NGO for civil society members.

Srinath said NGOs that will be provided the .NGO domain after an evaluation process will be automatically included in their portal listing.

“This makes NGOs gain visibility not only among their peers but also among donors and the media,” Srinath said.

PIR is currently accepting applications for the .NGO domain, which will be fully operational by January next year.

Nick Thorne, PIR international advisor, said that they consider the Philippines as a priority area due to the substantial NGO activity in the country.

“The Philippines is one of the new countries where NGOs are most influential. Your structures are most advanced,” Thorne said.

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, likewise said that the Philippine “NGO community has continued to be the vibrant and vital force.”

But de Jesus added that “the NGO has also served as an instrument for the corrupt.”

Srinath said that the PIR could help address the issue as the registry conducts a stringent evaluation process for the application stage and a periodic annual review even after an NGO has been granted access to the domain.

For more information please visit: http://www.interaksyon.com/infotech/new-online-registry-envisioned-as-a-facebook-for-ngos

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Call for Applications - Vijay Amritraj Foundation (VAF)

The Vijay Amritraj Foundation invites applications and the last dated is 30th August 2014

The Vijay Amritraj Foundation is based on the principles established by Mr. Amritraj, that In Giving We Receive.

The Vijay Amritraj Foundation brings hope, help and healing to the defenseless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India.

Driven by our founders firm belief that in giving we receive, the foundation pledges to make a real difference for those throughout India who are most in need of the helping hand of humanity.

Funding Priorities: The Foundations focus is on funding the smaller charities of India who do not have the ability to raise money or awareness for their causes. Charities serving children and adults who face extreme challenges in life; HIV/AIDS, Family Abandonment, and Individuals Ostracized by society for their illness.

What VAF Fund:

The Vijay Amritraj Foundation (VAF) makes grants to approved NGO’s throughout India.

All prospective applicants should fully review the guidelines for the Foundation before making initial contact.

VAF grantmaking is carried out in three ways:


•The VAF requests proposals from charitable organizations in India with which we have been in contact.
•The VAF will accept proposals from charitable organizations in India who are referred by existing grantees and/or VAF Ambassadors.
•The VAF accepts unsolicited requests from charitable organizations in India for projects that fall within our program priorities and guidelines.

Because available funding is limited, letters of inquiry are required for unsolicited programs or projects. Such letters should include a brief description of the project, the funding requested, and the period of time for which the funding is being requested.

Both general-purpose and project-specific requests are considered. In addition, both single and multi-year proposals are acceptable.

What VAF do not Fund

The VAF observes the following limitations:
•No grants or loans to individuals.
•No grants for capital development, research, project replication or endowment unless these activities grow out of work already being funded by the VAF.
•The Foundation does not support political activities or attempts to influence action on specific legislation.
•No grants for religious activities or programs serving specific religious groups or denominations. However, faith-based organizations may submit inquiries if the project falls within our guidelines and serves a broad segment of the population.
•Film and video projects, books, scholarships, and fellowships are rarely funded.

Criteria - How To Apply :

How to Apply

Letters of Inquiry

Please note: Please review our grants guidelines in detail prior to submitting a letter of inquiry.

As noted earlier, unsolicited requests must be made through letters of inquiry. The letter should describe the purpose and objectives of the project, general methodology and total cost of the project. A letter of inquiry enables the Foundation to determine the relevance of the proposed project to the Foundation's work and to provide advice on whether to submit a full proposal.

Full, Formal Proposals

If your letter of inquiry receives a favorable response, please follow this checklist for what should be included in a solicited formal proposal:
•A cover letter, detailing the amount of money requested and the grant period, signed by the individual responsible for signing grant contracts on behalf of the grant applicant.
•A project description, including an explanation of why the project is needed, who will be served and what will be accomplished.
•A documented line-item expense budget and a revenue budget, showing all projected sources of funds for the project over the proposed grant period.
•A plan for financial and/or programmatic sustainability of the project.
•A plan for evaluation of the project's results.
•Before a grant will be approved, U.S. government regulations require us to collect from each applicant, an affidavit and public support schedule to determine equivalence as a tax-exempt institution under U.S. law. VAF staff/Ambassadors will provide the forms as well as assistance in completing them.
•Organizations that receive funding are required to provide quarterly program updates to the Foundation.
•All submitted materials must be in English.

For multiple year funding, applicants must submit copies of their organization's published annual report and audited financial statements before a continuation grant will be approved. If these documents are not available, an eligibility review process will be undertaken by the Foundation for projects of interest.

When to Apply

Applications are accepted year-round, but those received between September 1 and December 31 will be considered only for the following calendar year.

Proposals are reviewed and funded 3 times a year. Reviews take place in January, May, and September. During the review period, prospective grantees are strongly discouraged from contacting the Foundation.

Where to Apply

Send letters of inquiry via email to: info@thevaf.com

THE FOUNDATION'S RESPONSE
VAF will send you an acknowledgment that your letter of inquiry was received. If as a result of that review the Foundation concludes that there is no prospect of Foundation funding, we will notify you promptly. Please allow up to eight weeks for the Foundation to reply.

If the Foundation decides that your project might qualify for a grant, we will contact you to discuss next steps and what further information is required.

As is now the case with most charities in the United States who make grants to organizations based outside the United States, the Foundation checks the names of foreign based grantees, and the principal officers and directors of such grantees, against one or more lists maintained by the U.S. government, the European Union, and the United Nations, which contain the names determined by such entities to be terrorist organizations or individual terrorists. This process is a result of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, Executive Orders issued by the President, and suggested guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A memorandum on this topic is available upon request.

All material submitted becomes the property of the Foundation. The Foundation sometimes submits inquiries or proposals to confidential outside review.

For further details visit: http://www.vijayamritrajfoundation.org/guidelines.html

How to become an Implementing Partner for USAID/India’s Partnership Program

The India Partnerships Program is designed to catalyze, facilitate, and support such collaboration toward shared objectives in such important areas as maternal and child health, control of infectious diseases, the promotion of clean and renewable energy, early literacy, water access, and food security. The goal of this programme is to tackle development challenges in a replicable and sustainable manner leading to dramatic improvements in development indicators.

Potential Resource Partners from India are invited to submit proposals for India Partnerships Program (IPP) in Gender, WASH, Environment, Food Security and Education.

Proposals are invited in the following areas:

§ Health

§ Urban India Water and Sanitation for Health Alliance (Urban WASH Alliance)

§ Early Grade Reading

§ Clean Energy and Forestry

§ Food Security and Nutrition

Eligibility criteria:

§ USAID/India is open to receiving Concept Papers from organizations (non-profits, non-governmental NGOs) that may be able to provide funding, but which through their network of contacts and association may be able to secure private sector funding for particular projects which they may be interested in implementing.

§ All organizations are expected to comply with applicable local laws. For Indian organizations that will receive USAID/India funding, it may be necessary to obtain Government of India approval in accordance with the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) prior to receiving such funds.

For more information and partnership opportunities please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/india/work-with-us/partnership-opportunities

Website: The USAID/India web site is now located at www.usaid.gov/india Please update your links and bookmarks to this new web address

And https://www.facebook.com/USAIDIndia


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Odisha asked to build info base on NGO spending

The Odisha government seems to have no foolproof mechanism to ensure that grants released to non government organizations are implemented properly.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of comprehensive information on individual allotment of government funds to each NGO. The State government had released a grant to the tune of Rs. 835.91 crores to NGOs during a period of five years that ended on March 31, 2013.

“The State government through various departments is releasing grants to various NGOs to carry out welfare activities in the State. But as noticed from the information furnished in State Finance Accounts, the details regarding NGO-wise grants released by various departments and the purpose for which they were released and their utilizations are not being exhibited,” observed Amar Patnaik, Accountant General, in a letter to State Chief Secretary.

Mr. Patnaik pointed out, “In absence of such details, the grant of Rs. 835.91 crore for five years ended on March 31, 2013 is not getting audited.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-asked-to-build-info-base-on-ngo-spending/article6321045.ece



NASSCOM offers security and backup solutions to NGOs

SUMMARYIn a bid to drive inclusive growth in India, NASSCOM Foundation, will now offer Symantec’s enterprise.

In a bid to drive inclusive growth in India, NASSCOM Foundation, will now offer Symantec’s enterprise and desktop products to NGOs through its software donation programme.

NGOs in India will now be able to get the latest information security and backup solutions as donation, enabling them to keep their data secure while diverting a large part of their IT security budgets to solving social issues.

In a world driven by Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a large number of NGOs in India are using outdated or free security solutions with limited protection, making them highly vulnerable to hacking, data thefts, trojan horses, viruses, worms, spyware, adware, rootkits and other security threats.

NGOs from across the country, will now be able to protect themselves from these risks and fulfill their organisational security and backup needs like online transactions/donations, employee and donor privacy and even protection against data loss due to system/server crashes.

With Symantec Security Solutions, organisations of any size can have a simple and affordable desktop security that protects against today’s ever evolving threats. On the other hand, through the backup and recovery solutions, they can eliminate complexity, perform backups and keep costs down without compromising availability of their information.

Welcoming the initiative, Shantanu Ghosh, Managing Director - India Product Operations, Symantec, said, “Symantec is committed to making the world a safer and better place. Running an NGO is hard work, but Symantec wants to make securing it the easy part. Through the NASSCOM BigTech Program, we want to do our bit by helping NGOs protect and manage their information, so they can continue to leverage technology for greater good.”

Sharing her views on the initiative, Rita Soni, CEO- NASSCOM Foundation, said “We are thrilled to welcome NASSCOM member Symantec to BigTech, complementing our existing suite of offerings that include Adobe, BUSY Infotech, Citrix, Microsoft and SAP. The NGO community’s data will be in excellent hands!”

The BigTech program endeavours to provide technology led solutions to the NGOs to help increase their effectiveness. Since its inception, the program has successfully donated software worth Rs.34 crore to NGOs across India.

NGOs getting web domain

To enhance the visibility of civil society on the web, a new top-level global Internet domain will be launched this year.

Called .NGO, it will be open to all qualified nongovernment organizations.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), a US-based NGO, believes that the Internet is a powerful tool for NGOs in securing new supporters and donors.

For more than a decade, PIR has managed .ORG with more than 10.4 million domains in over 200 countries and territories.

“We are now talking to the NGO community in many countries to better understand their needs and to explain the new domain,” said PIR board member Ingrid Srinath.

According to PIR, the Philippines is one of the two priority countries in Asia for .NGO because of its vibrant online community and civil sector.

The new domain will be an international online community open only to genuine NGOs. It will provide an online space where NGOs can collaborate to reduce online risks, gain visibility, raise funds and connect with new partners worldwide.

Domain holders of .NGO will also have their organizations included in a searchable NGO directory that will include a customizable online profile to enable each organization to showcase their activities and communicate with partners, funders and the public.

Srinath and Nick Thorne, PIR’s international advisor and former UK ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, will be in Manila on Aug. 19 at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to discuss the new domain, the changing structure of the Internet and how Filipino NGOs can qualify for inclusion in the new domain.

NGOs, PTAs, to receive grants to conduct workshops

Panaji: The state government will now provide grants to NGOs, registered educational societies and parent teacher associations to conduct seminars, conferences and workshops on subjects of 'educational and social importance.' Students and teachers, whose papers are selected for presentation at national and international seminars, conferences, workshops and mootcourts will also be offered assistance under the new scheme.
The proposal for the conducting of the seminars and workshops will have to be submitted to the directorate of higher education for approval at least two months before the actual event.
The maximum amount of financial support granted to any organization in a year will be restricted to 10 lakh. In exceptional circumstances, however, the government may consider a higher level of financial assistance on a case-to-case basis, but not exceeding 20 lakh to any one organization.
The state assistance will only cover the deficit and will be limited to a maximum of 75% of the actual expenses in conduct of
the activity.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/NGOs-PTAs-to-receive-grants-to-conduct-workshops/articleshow/40352527.cms

Grading of NGOs likely to be a game changer

NEW DELHI: Grading of non-government organisations (NGOs) is likely to be a game changer in the non-profit arena in India. CRISIL, India's leading rating agency has recently evolved an NGO-specific evaluation process. In many countries, such as the USA, NGOs are rated by third parties and play a crucial role in attracting large donations.

CRISIL has recently graded two NGOs, HelpAge India was assigned a VO-1A grade, denoting 'very strong delivery capability and high financial proficiency', while SOS Children's Village (SOSCV) was given a 'VO-2A grade, which denotes 'strong delivery capability and high financial proficiency'.

V Srinivasan, COO, CRISIL, told TOI: "NGO grading is a distinct process from that of credit rating of companies. We grade NGOs based on their performance and financial proficiency."

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Grading-of-NGOs-likely-to-be-a-game-changer/articleshow/40045061.cms

Govt for transparency in utilisation of funds by NGOs

Pitching for greater accountability and transparency in utilisation of funds by NGOs, government today said it supports punishing those found guilty of such misconduct.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot told the Lok Sabha that 26 cases of alleged misuse of funds by NGOs have come to light.

Responding to a supplementary, he said a probe is on against Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust and if need be an FIR would be lodged.

Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid is associated with the trust.

The complaint against the trust relates to non submission of documents in respect of utilisation of grants in aid released during 2010-11, the Minister said.

In replying to another supplementary, he said at times while the Centre finds faults with an NGO, the state government gives a contrary report leading to delays in finalising charges.

Gehlot said there is a provision of annual and six-monthly appraisal by central government on the functioning of NGOs.

He also said government seeks to have a better say on issues like misutilisation of funds and is examining possible "flaws" in the present system to curb such practices.

The Minister said in the event of "proven misappropriation" of funds by an NGO, the Ministry initiates action to blacklist that organisation.

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-for-transparency-in-utilisation-of-funds-by-ngos-114080500736_1.html

NGOs get funding to extends their activities

MANGALORE: Child Rights and You (CRY) and city-based Prajna Counselling Centre emerged major beneficiaries of corporate social responsibility (CSR)programmes of PNB MetLife with support from city-based Karnataka Bank Ltd on Tuesday. The programme will focus on education and growth of underprivileged children in the state and expected to touch lives of 12,000 such children in Raichur (through CRY) and Dakshina Kannada (Prajna) districts.

P Jayarama Bhat, MD, Karnataka Bank, Christopher Townsend, president (Asia), MetLife, Mahabaleshwara M S, CGM, Karnataka Bank and Tarun Chugh, managing director and chief executive officer, PNBMet Life launched the CSR programme in the presence of Suma Ravi, regional director (South), CRY, and Hilda Rayappan, director, Prajna Counselling Centre here.

Bhat said the launch of the CSR programme in Karnataka where the bank has 60% of its presence, is significant. "We appreciate and support their endeavor to educate and develop underprivileged children in Karnataka. We both aim to work together to make a difference in the lives of communities we operate in," he added.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangalore/NGOs-get-funding-to-extends-their-activities/articleshow/39798106.cms

Vodafone Foundation Invites Applications For M4GA Awards

Vodafone Foundation has announced the fourth edition of ‘Mobile for Good Awards 2014,’ a flagship initiative that recognizes and supports emerging talent and innovative mobile solutions from NGOs/NFPs that facilitate community empowerment and inclusive growth. Applicants from NGO/NFPs can submit their mobile application ideas at http://www.vodafone.in/mobileforgood. The application process will be open through the portal till August 31, 2014. The Mobile for Good Awards 2014 will select five best-practice NGOs / NFPs for providing mobile application solutions in five critical areas of Governance, Health, Education, Agriculture & Environment and Women Empowerment and Inclusive Development. Adding another milestone to the M4G Awards this year, the “Special Awards” category have been introduced that will recognize winning ideas or concepts using mobile solutions in the defined focus areas. Similar to the last three years, the M4G Awards 2014 will provide funding and mentorship to winning NGOs/NFPs. This year, the total funding grant has been increased to sixty lakh rupees; providing 5 winning NGOs/ NFPs access to crucial funding of 12 lakh rupees each, over one year, through the Main Category Awards. In addition, the Main Category Awardees will receive structured mentoring, monitoring and impact evaluation support from credible institutions, incubators, etc. to upscale and build greater capacity of their projects. Eligibility criteria for main awards are: The M4G Main Awards is open for all Indian registered NGOs and NFPs who have been registered on or before 30 June 2011. However, any NGO or NPF which is not registered in India but has a presence across three or more locations and can showcase work experience of not less than five years with tie-up with Indian registered NGOs and NFPs is eligible. In this case the NGO/ NFP which is not registered in India can participate in a consortium/ association with an Indian Registered NGO/ NFP. Also the fund grant will be released to the registered NGO/ NFP in India of the consortium/association. The project/initiative selected for participation shall be based on Mobile platform or shall leverage mobile-based technologies. The project/initiative selected for participation shall be in implementation-phase for a period of minimum one year. The NGO or NPF shall be capable of demonstrating the success, scalability and sustainability of their project (through documentations – success stories etc.) Speaking about the Mobile For Good Awards , Rohit Adya, Director, External Affairs, Vodafone India, said “Since last three years, The Mobile for Good Awards has demonstrated the power of innovative mobile solutions to drive social change and inclusive growth in our country. High tele-density in India provides a tremendous potential for leveraging mobile platform to address the informational and developmental needs of communities both in rural and urban areas. I personally appeal to each eligible individual in the country to participate in large numbers in the application process with refreshing ideas to usher in true Mobile for Good for the citizens.” Mobile for Good Awards is a special platform created to recognize the best talent available providing social innovation through mobile and wireless technologies.

Read more at: http://www.lightreading.in/lightreadingindia/news-wire-feed/297306/vodafone-foundation-invites-applications-m4ga-awards?utm_source=referrence_article

Vodafone Foundation to provide Rs 60 lakh fund for mobile apps

New Delhi:Vodafone Foundation on Wednesday said it will provide Rs 60 lakh fund support to mobile solutions from NGOs and Not for Profit organisations that can drive social change in India.

The Foundation will select total of 5 NGOs or NFP organisation through 'Mobile for Good Awards 2014' from applications received on website of its parent organisation Vodafone India till August 31.

"I personally appeal to each eligible individual in the country to participate in large numbers in the application process with refreshing ideas to usher in true Mobile for Good for the citizens," Vodafone India's Director for External Affairs Rohit Adya said in a statement.

The Mobile for Good Awards 2014 will select mobile application solutions in 5 critical areas of Governance, Health, Education, Agriculture and Environment and Women Empowerment and Inclusive Development.

"This year, the total funding grant has been increased to Rs 60 lakh, providing 5 winning NGOs/ NFPs access to crucial funding of Rs 12 lakh, over one year, through the Main Category Awards," the statement said.

In addition, the main category awardees will receive structured mentoring, monitoring and impact evaluation support from credible institutions, incubators, etc. To upscale and build greater capacity of their projects, it said.

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/business/news/companies/vodafone-foundation-to-provide-rs-60-lakh-fund-for-mobile-apps_105084.html

Indian Government Planning to Select Activist NGOs for Scrutiny

India has around 20 million registered NGOs, or around one for every 600 citizens. The Modi government appears to have them in its sights, which is giving some the jitters.

Foreign Policy reports on two developments that appear to threaten Indian civil society organisations. Firstly, the new government’s first budget, which was announced in Parliament this month, beefs up the powers of tax officials to withdraw tax exemption from non-government organizations (NGOs), charitable institutions and trusts. Second, the government has indicated that certain foreign-funded NGOs will face special scrutiny. This new focus on foreign NGOs, including such names as Greenpeace, Amnesty and ActionAid, is a response to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report indicating that recent foreign-funded activism against development projects was hurting the economy. The IB report fails to provide evidence of this hurt, which it estimates at as much as two to three percent of the GDP.

Understandably, there has been an outcry from some in the civil sector. “The government is adopting scare tactics,” said Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights. “It wants to ensure that nobody comes in the way of big projects.” The anti-nuclear campaigner Achin Vinaik said, “We are fearful that this is a kind of witchhunt with longer term implications to repress all kinds of popular struggles.”

India as a country was once highly reliant on foreign aid, but much has changed since 1991, when her economy was liberalized from the grip of central government and what was called the “licence raj.” Indisputably, foreign aid did make an immense contribution to India post-independence. The best known example is in the Ford foundation’s funding of the Green Revolution, which transformed rice production in India and much of Asia.

However, in common with other BRIC countries, India has slowly transformed from an aid recipient to an aid provider. Foreign funding of NGOs has decreased, and as India’s middle class has expanded, so have donations from its members in support of both local and international charities. As Greenpeace India noted in its response to the IB report, 61 percent of its funding comes from 300,000 individual Indian donors. Nowadays, international charities such as Oxfam and the Red Cross managed from their international headquarters have been replaced by autonomous Indian based and managed operations.

The concern of the IB and the Indian government appears to be that foreign-funded NGOs are not dealing with grassroots health and poverty issues, of which India has an abundance. Instead, according to the report, the “areas of action” include anti-nuclear, anti-coal, and anti-GMO protests.

The IB report accuses the NGOs of stalling mega-industrial development projects—in particular, mining, dam and oil drilling projects in northeastern India.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the environmental and social policy causes these NGOs espouse, an obvious question does arise: How would a Western government respond to foreign NGOs supporting activism within their borders?

The concern with the sheer numbers of NGOs and the tax-exemption rights many of them enjoy may also have its roots in rational concerns. Corruption and tax avoidance is endemic in India. Many of the two million NGOs are failing to submit details of receipts and spending to income tax authorities. Giving the tax authorities power to deregister miscreants does not seem untoward.—John Godfrey

Source: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/24569-indian-government-planning-to-select-activist-ngos-for-scrutiny.html

Maharashtra clearance must for NGOs: Intelligence Bureau

In a fresh report submitted to the government, the Intelligence Bureau has clearly stated that all NGOs and other social organisation working in Naxal-infested states and getting funds from foreign agencies should be put on a “mandatory pre-security clearance” by the Union home ministry to check misuse of funds.

The report comes in wake of the issue being flagged a few days ago by minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju during Question Hour in Parliament, where he claimed that the CPI (Maoists), an umbrella organisation for Naxal cadre, had close links with some outfits in Europe and Southeast Asia. Mr Rijiju had also underscored the fact that in case source of funding was illegal there should be an inquiry into it.

Now, the Central intelligence agency in a report to the home ministry has said that every time funds are received by organisation working in the Naxal-infested, it should be cleared only after a thorough security check.

“There is a strong possibility that some of the funds being routed by foreign donors to organisations working different fields in the Naxal-dominated areas is being ultimately used by the Maoists. A detailed scrutiny should be carried out by multiple security agencies on every occasion before these funds are cleared,” the intelligence note states.

According to current norms, the NGOs and social or cultural organisations registered with the foreigners division of the home ministry do not have to seek pre-clearance on receiving funds as they are supposed to file their annual returns as per the FCRA norms. However, donations for agencies not registered with the home ministry are cleared on a case by case basis.

Recently, the IB had also recommended that funds for another reputed NGO, Greenpeace, should also be put in the pre-security clearance category. The intelligence agency in an earlier report had alleged that some of the NGOs were working against the country’s economic growth.

Now, with the home ministry already admitting that Indian Maoists had links with other similar outfits abroad, sources said that the funding norms for organisations working in Naxal areas would be made more stringent

Source: http://www.asianage.com/india/maharashtra-clearance-must-ngos-intelligence-bureau-634

Monday, August 18, 2014

NGOs in India on tenterhooks after accusatory government report



The Indian government is scrutinizing NGOs after a leaked report blamed several foreign-funded NGOs for stalling development projects, hurting the economy.

NEW DELHI — India's 2 million nongovernmental organizations are prominent advocates on issues from women's rights to educational equality.

But over the past few weeks, the atmosphere for advocacy NGOs, and in particular those funded by foreign donors, has become decidedly chilly.

The home ministry is running a national investigation into the funding of all NGOs after the leak of a classified report last month which blamed a handful of foreign-funded NGOs for stalling development projects in India. The report, by an internal security agency, claimed that these group's activism resulted in a 2-3 percent decrease in India's economy.

Recommended: How well do you know India? Take the quiz.

Any NGO found violating current registration rules will have their bank accounts seized, registration canceled, and will be banned from receiving foreign funds, a senior home ministry official says. And in the July 10 federal budget proposal, the government included a series of amendments that would expand its power to withdraw tax benefits or cancel registration of NGOs.

Activists accuse the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of looking for ways to stifle opposition, especially to infrastructure and power projects that may carry heavy environmental costs. Mr. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in May on a pro-business platform.

“The government wants to ensure that nobody raises voices against any government projects,” says Achin Vanaik, a member of the anti-nuclear Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, a network of over 200 Indian NGOs and advocacy groups.
Classified report

The controversial leaked report on NGOs was prepared for the new government by the Intelligence Bureau, an internal security agency.

It called out several international organizations, including Amnesty International, Action Aid, and the Netherlands' CORDAID for harming developmental projects relating to coal plants, oil exploration, nuclear plants, steel, and mining.

The report singled out Greenpeace India, which was mentioned 15 times. It alleges that Greenpeace India is using foreign funds to hurt economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining, and genetically modified food. The home ministry has asked India's central bank to stop processing foreign contributions to Greenpeace.

Greenpeace, in a statement, has said that the organization has raised 61 percent of its budget in the last financial year from Indian supporters.

"Just because contributions are from foreign sources does not mean that they come with an agenda," says Bharati Sinha, a spokeswoman at Greenpeace India. "We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth."

There are no official government figures on how many NGOs in India receive foreign funding. Public and private donors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Britain, and Germany are the top foreign funders to Indian NGOs, according to figures compiled by the Indian government.

In the year ending in March 2011, the most recent period for which data is available, about 22,000 Indian NGOs received a total of more than $2 billion from abroad, of which $650 million came from the US.
Past pressure

This is not the first time NGOs working on environmental or land rights issues have faced official ire. Modi's predecessor, Manmohan Singh, complained in 2012 that foreign-funded NGOs were blocking the expansion of Koodankulam, India’s biggest nuclear power plant. Demonstrations led by the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy delayed construction on the project, which only started supplying power in 2013, six years after schedule.

The Indian government complains that only 2 percent of Indian NGOs file annual returns with the government. Government officials say this shows a lack of accountability and transparency and prevents them from knowing which NGOs are active and where.

This led the government to tighten the rules on NGOs over the past two years: In 2012, the government empowered senior income tax officials to cancel registrations of those NGOs who fail to file income tax returns. Last year, the government banned Indian Social Action Forum, a network of more than 700 NGOs across India, from receiving foreign funds. The conglomerate of NGOs mostly campaigns for indigenous peoples' land rights and against nuclear energy; nearly 90 percent of its funding comes from overseas.

Now, the new government may also review visa applications of foreign academics and researchers who work with Indian NGOs, according to local media reports.

Targeting civil society and NGOs will ultimately be counterproductive, says Parth J. Shah, who heads the New Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society. “It will create unwanted fraction between civil society and the government. Nobody is against prosperity and growth,” he says. “But for the benefit of few you cannot harm interests of a large section of your population.”

Source; http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2014/0721/NGOs-in-India-on-tenterhooks-after-accusatory-government-report

Because development involves us all

SUMMARYThe Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation offers an innovative model of funding NGOs.

Considering governmental opposition to the foreign funding of NGOs, it is surprising that the present government seems also to be opposed to a public-private partnership for funding NGOs. According to an Indian Express report (‘Modi govt will have to deal with some members of Sonia’s NAC’, June 25), the government is not keen on continuing funding the Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF), an autonomous society to provide arms-length funding to rural civil society organisations.

In December 2013, the BRLF was registered by Mihir Shah, a member of the Planning Commission, Virginius Xaxa, an academic and Mirai Chatterjee, an expert in health delivery and head of SEWA Ahmedabad. In its general body and executive council were other well-known names. The BRLF was envisaged as an autonomous public-private partnership to fund grassroots NGOs, replacing the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Development (Capart), a body under the rural development ministry and plagued with inefficiency and corruption. A few months before the 2014 elections, the UPA’s rural development ministry under Jairam Ramesh signed an MoU with the BRLF, making it a funding agency for NGOs across the country, and giving it Rs 200 crore as a first tranche to be followed by Rs 300 crore over the next two years.

The idea of the BRLF was entirely laudable: to raise funds from all sources, public and private, including companies, international agencies, private foundations and, of course, Central and state governments, to provide non-partisan, need-based financial grants to civil society organisations. Professionally staffed, with an eminent chairman not from the government, it was meant to overcome the many objections raised against foreign funding and the deficiencies of government funding, such as red tape, corruption and inflexible grants not tailored to need. It was also meant to insulate NGO funding from the political instability and interference that marred Capart’s functioning. Unfortunately for the fledgling entity, many of the 30-member executive committee were also members of the National Advisory Council under Sonia Gandhi, and reportedly this has brought upon it a review to determine its fate.

But the mere fact of the association of politically unacceptable people with it should not trash what is otherwise a laudable innovation in funding. A strong civil society is built upon and draws its strength from people who work together for the betterment of that society, without depending on government for everything. But to do that it must have access to

Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/because-development-involves-us-all/1272221

HELPING HANDS

- NGOs using foreign funds must be monitored, not hounded

The media were agog when a “secret” report of the Intelligence Bureau was leaked a few days after the swearing-in of the Narendra Modi-led government. It, particularly, pointed to Greenpeace, to the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (picture) and coal-based thermal power projects as having been funded by foreign agencies to hold back India’s development. The report, obviously, suits the suspicions about foreign funding in both the Congress, which initiated the report, and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which received it.

Within India, there is not much funding for the activities of non-governmental organizations. It has grown since 1991, as companies have wanted information for a competitive economy. There is also the desire of some to “do good”. The activities of NGOs could range from social science and scientific research to conscience-raising movements for women, adivasis and other communities, support for the disabled, for clean environment, protection of wild life, promotion of nutrition programmes, health and immunization programmes, education and so on, and for propagating religion. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act requires all foreign funding to NGOs to be reported to the government, showing details of donors and the purposes for which the funds were used.

Propagating conversion from one religion to another is not encouraged under Indian laws and some states have stringent legislation to discourage it. Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to profess, practice and propagate his faith in a way that does not disrupt public order and does not affect public health and morality adversely. Several Indian states have passed freedom of religion bills, primarily to prevent conversion: Arunachal in 1978, Gujarat in 2003, Madhya Pradesh in 2006, Chhattisgarh in 2006, Himachal Pradesh in 2007. This has not stopped religious conversions, especially to Christianity. Various benefits to the poor, such as good education and health services, tempt them to convert, apart from others who might feel an affinity for the religion. Foreign funding for conversion and propagation of religions — mainly Christianity and Islam — are believed to be rampant. The latter is said to be funded by hawala and does not feature in government statistics.

Between 1993 and 2012, the number of registered associations (NGOs) rose from 15,039 to over 41,844, but through all these years only 54 per cent to 64 per cent filed details of foreign remittances received. In 2011-12, 16,756 had not filed returns. Those that did had receipts climbing from Rs 1,865 crore to Rs 11,548 crore. The principal donors in 2011-12 were from the United States of America, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. There are reports that there are at least 40 charitable organizations in Saudi Arabia whose primary job is to raise money for funding terror in India. The government does not appear to use the information it gets (or does not get) effectively. There appears to be little monitoring and inspection of the activities of NGOs.

Foreign funding of NGOs is a complex subject. Many recipients carry out very useful activities that help the country. There are some with ulterior motives. For example, it was said that the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant was funded by American sources that wanted to discredit Russian nuclear power technology. In the 1960s, the Congress for Cultural Freedom was reported to be funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. It produced a magazine called Encounter, edited by the famous British poet, Stephen Spender. The Congress for Cultural Freedom arranged many conferences. The magazine was beautifully produced and I remember it as having been very informative and educative.

Mrs Indira Gandhi became paranoid about the influence of secret CIA funding of NGOs and visiting research scholars in India. She introduced rules that made it very difficult for American scholars to visit India for research and India was on the backburner of American research projects for over two decades. Was it in India’s interest that many American scholars could not come to India for research?

Many outstanding educational and research institutions were started and survived mainly with foreign funding. The National Council of Applied Economic Research, for example, was established in 1956 on the initiative of T.T. Krishnamachari (a successful businessman who served Nehru in the cabinet as minister for commerce and finance). The NCAER received substantial Ford Foundation grants that helped set it up. I became director-general in 1990. Funding sources for social science research in India were very limited. Government departments would fund some research, depending on the fancy of a joint secretary in a ministry. It was more as charity to enable the institutions to survive. Neither the private nor the public sector in industry was much interested in research. India was a closed economy and the trick for industry was to get industrial licenses, which then guaranteed them a market and practically no competition. Estimating market sizes, income distribution, asset holdings, consumer habits and preferences, consumption in rural households and so on called for meticulously chosen large samples (to represent India), which could extract such information. It was expensive and unlikely to create profit for businesses. Yet such research was necessary for understanding how India was structured and how it was changing. The primary funding sources were the foreign foundations — Ford, Canadian agencies like CEDA and International Development Research Centre, USAID and others. The NCAER was, by no stretch of the imagination, an agency that gave away secret information about India or agitated against Indian government policies.

I recall that in the early years of liberalization, I got the USAID to fund a project for monitoring Indian reforms and their effects on different sectors. One of my board colleagues thought that American funding for studying reform was inappropriate and we gave it up. The paranoia about foreign influence through funding was very much visible. Yet it was an important study and should have been done from the beginning of the liberalization in 1991.

The issue is how to prevent foreign funding from subverting Indian policies. The FCRA is a useful legislation for the purpose. But information from it is not adequately monitored and used. Many NGOs seem to escape any action despite not giving complete or any information. The purposes for which the money is used are not always properly disclosed. Foreign money that funds NGOs who use it to protest against government policies need close scrutiny. For example, it is accepted policy in India that in the absence of other fuels, India must depend on coal. India must do everything possible to encourage other non-polluting power sources, but coal will remain the dominant source. Should foreign funded agitations against coal-based plants be permitted? This question also arises in case of nuclear power. There is great hostility to it in Europe, where Germany, for example, has been dismantling its nuclear power plants. India is a small player in nuclear power and needs it to satisfy development needs. Externally-funded agitations, however well-intentioned, must not be permitted.

At the same time, NGOs must not be hounded, and even those which receive foreign funds to run research, health services, education, training and so on, must be allowed a free hand. With corporate social responsibility featuring in the Companies Act, we can expect domestic funds, apart from funds from the government, to increase. The need for foreign funds could thus reduce.

Foreign funding will have to be more closely monitored so that its use can be channelled to desired areas. At the same time, there needs to be transparency in government actions with regard to them.

Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140721/jsp/opinion/story_18636503.jsp#.U_JEKPmSyVA

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If you can't find a way, create one!


We Can END POVERTY 2015


Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE Acumen Foundation INDIA FELLOWS PROGRAM

Deadline: 1st Sep 2014
Interest Area(s): Community; Education, NGO Capacity Bldg and Social & Human
Services

The Acumen India Fellows Program is a one-year, fully-funded leadership development
program that gives 20 individuals from across India the training they need to
accelerate their social impact and leadership potential. Fellows come from
diverse cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and share
a commitment to ending poverty in their communities. Fellows remain in
their jobs over the year and meet for five week-long seminars where they receive
world-class financial and operational skills training. Through the program,
Fellows build strong networks of social change leaders within their cohort and
Acumen's global community. Ideal applicants will be: individuals who are working
to end poverty in their community through some kind of social change project;
or entrepreneurs who have started their own organization, or individuals
who are influencing change within an existing organization; come from of
all age groups and education levels, but must be able to fully participate in a
program that is conducted in English; must be from India and must show
a demonstrated commitment and concrete connection to India; must
demonstrate strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance, and moral
imagination; and must be ready and willing to undergo an intensive year-long
personal transformation and leadership journey. Acumen also operates similar
Fellows programs in Pakistan and East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, South
Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda). See the website for full details and
application deadlines which vary.

For more Information please visit: http://acumen.org/leaders/regional-fellows/india

Web: http://acumen.org

Scottish Government funds for NGOs

Deadline: 26th Nov 2014
Interest Area(s): Children & Young People; Community; Disability; Education: Environment; Heralth;
Human Rights; NGO Capacity Bldg and Social & HumanServices

Scottish International Development Organisations can now apply for funding through year
two of the Scottish Government's International Development Small Grants
Programme. This will distribute approximately £500,000 in 2015 to support projects
that help some of the world's poorest countries and fit within the Scottish
Government's International Development Policy. Eligible projects must be focused
in one of the Scottish Government's priority countries, contribute to the achievement
of the Millennium Development Goals (and the post-2015 Framework in due
course), and the alleviation of poverty and economic growth in the priority countries.
These are: Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the
Indian States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Incorporated not-for-
profit organisations which have a presence in Scotland and an annual turnover of
less than £150,000 are eligible to apply. The Programme is specifically intended to
accommodate smaller requests for funding to contribute to current International
Development policy and outcomes and to overarching Scottish Government
outcomes. Therefore, although there are maximum grant levels in place, it is
envisaged that a range of project sizes will be supported through the Programme.
There are three types of grants available: Project, Feasibility and Capacity
Building. Applicants may only apply for one type of grant in each funding year.

For more information please visit: http://www.ltsbfoundationforscotland.org.uk/index.asp?tm=72&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=small+grants&cookies=True

Web: http://www.ltsbfoundationforscotland.org.uk

NGO Fundraising Workshop in NEW DELHI on 30th August 2014(Saturday)

Interact with Fundraising Experts(Limited Seats)

Write us at - info@ngofundsindia.org

Call - 09958154404

See previous workshops details in Link below

http://l.facebook.com/l/KAQG-GMvAAQEAad8IF7zsxPhRHPo1zMPCIVC9E582Bo2dIA/www.ngofundsindia.org/apps/blog