Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Uncharitable NGOS

Updated: May 23, 2015 4:38 pm

With the stopping of foreign funding to thousands of NGOs working in India to subvert the Indian national interest—particularly Greenpeace and Ford Foundation—the Modi-led NDA government is seemingly treading the right path. The government has now to take the fight it has initiated to its logical conclusion, that is banish the NGOs which have used the funds on political activities—which is strictly prohibited—and on activities other than the purpose it was purportedly donated. Democracy, after all, is not only about NGOs challenging government and those in power; it also means citizens, and even government, challenging the claims of NGOs. The challenge clearly must be on facts, issues and claims. A report on receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution by voluntary associations by the MHA is revealing. “Though the number of associations reporting receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution is increasing, it is a matter of concern that a large number of registered associations still do not submit their statutory annual returns mandated by the law.” Furthermore, a CBI analysis of NGOs across the country showed that of the 22, 39,971 NGOs functioning in 20 states, only 10 per cent (about 2, 23,428) submitted annual returns. Of 5,684 NGOs in the six Union Territories, only 50 filed their balance sheets. None of the NGOs in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura filed. FCRA rules and regulations specifically forbid the use of foreign funds for undertaking political activities. Yet a large proportion of foreign-funded NGOs have been indulging in a whole range of political activities, including campaigning for or against certain political parties during elections. What is frightening that some leading NGOs have been in the forefront of mobilising resistance against nationally important development projects allegedly at the behest of foreign agencies causing enormous damage to India’s growth potential. Many NGOs claiming to be involved in “human rights”, “social empowerment”, “rural development” etc., are alleged to be fronts for India-based or foreign-supported extremist political organisations with socially disruptive agendas and have been found lending support to secessionist movements. Some Christian missionary groups, under the guise of “developmental” organisations, also carry out proselytisation activities in India that often disrupt social harmony and end up damaging the delicate social fabric of India. It is estimated that “of the 20 lakh registered NGOs and societies in the country, only 30,000 or so (about 1.5 per cent) are actually doing developmental work”. It cannot be gainsaid that true dissent is part of democracy. But if that is motivated by an outsider donor who has his own objectives, it is then an attempt to subvert the country’s interests.

Against this backdrop, it is worth mentioning that the Modi government has cancelled the registration of nearly 9000 foreign-funded NGOs. Hence at last, we are having a government that is seriously looking into NGOs funding into India, where the funds are going etc. So far all these decades, the truth was hidden from the public; they only saw NGOs mushrooming day by day and getting involved in almost everything across the length & breadth of India. The proselytisation organisations have gargantuan influence in India which can be gauged by the fact that in occupying land in the country, they are second to only Defence service. Some time back, there was uproar across India when a Greenpeace activist was offloaded from a flight, whose ticket was reported to have been paid from the UK. So, to serve whose interest she was going to London? The dynastic rulers from the time of Nehru were allegedly hands in glove with the missionary organisations across the world and they never wanted to do anything that would have disrupted their activities in this country. Even a few other governments that came to power in between never had the stomach to stand up to these organisations. During the decade-long rule of the Congress-ruled UPA I and II from 2004 to 2013, the people watched closely how the NGOs had been running amok and working against the national interest such as opposing nuclear power plants in Kudankulam and Jaitapur, organising massive protests against the construction of a dam on the Narmada river, besides opposing South Korea’s POSCO, which, if materialised, will become the highest-ever Foreign Direct Investment in India. In this perspective, what is disheartening is the fact that one daily reported that even though NGOs received Rs 12,500 crore from abroad in 2013, barely two per cent of them reported it. The money was often not used for the purposes for which it was meant. In India, one tends to respect and put faith in non-profits over profit-seeking enterprises, because the former are “social workers”, or selfless and charitable entities—philanthropists in a way who do good to the needy and suppressed without seeking anything in return. However, this is a myth. In terms of basic intents and purposes, there is almost no moral difference between a corporation seeking profits for promoters and shareholders and a non-profit seeking reap benefits in the name of fighting for a cause (environment, tribals) or doing charity. But the situation is different now and people are more aware of their activities due to the new technologies available today. Also the present Modi government is a much stronger government than its predecessor and seems to be ready to take such elements head on.

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