Why middle class India hates NGOs

World NGO Day, February 27, though observed by several agencies and institutions across the globe is yet to adopted as an international day by the United Nations General Assembly.

However, even if it were, middle class India would at best have mixed views about dedicating a day to acknowledging and celebrating the work NGOs do. For, the middle class-NGO engagement is complicated and has a chequered history.

Until the late 1980s, middle class Indians did not particularly mind NGOs, unless its own progeny decided to commit career suicide by joining one. NGOs operated in the peripheral visual field, in villages and slums, and did things it felt petty to question. Organising health camps, teaching children, promoting handicrafts, distributing relief, etc. Orbital overlaps were few – mostly when a donation-seeker appeared at the doorstep – and vaguely amiable. Save for Emergency-era movements, news of NGOs skirmishing with authority was rare, and seen as a little release of steam, nothing to be unduly perturbed about.

A number of coherent and strident voices, most headline-grabbing of who was Medha Patkar and the Narmada Bachao Andolan, would change all that. Punching much above their numerical strength, this new breed of NGOs refused to stick to traditional niches and was not to be limited with roles in implementing government programmes either; they were challenging the development paradigm itself.

Patkar and Co, for example, went beyond the fairness of resettlement and rehabilitation packages and questioned the raison d’etre of big dams themselves. NGOs had asked inconvenient questions of the government before too, but this was qualitatively different.

A sub-group, small but forceful, had discarded the gloves and was itching for proper battle.

Always wary of disaffection spread and not as clueless as the middle class about the NGO power, the government retaliated with anti-NGO propaganda. A small group of mischief-mongers was blocking India’s progress march with moral and financial support from foreign powers, it alleged.

Surely, it was anti-development to protest projects meant to deliver power to homes and factories and water to fields and, surely it was treasonous to whine about the nation’s problems in international fora.

Redistribution of government largesse and international embarrassment are among the middle class’s top fears in any context. Unsurprisingly then that this anti-NGO propaganda found greatest resonance among it.

More negative shades came to be added to the portraiture in time.

With new fangled ideas of participation gaining currency in the 1990s and its own personnel not really queuing up for the task of cajoling communities, the government had been prompted to envisage greater roles for NGOs in local planning and implementation.

However not all “partner” NGOs were keen to settle into contractor-type arrangements (read shady quid pro quos) and a handle was needed over them too. So, programme guidelines were drafted such that there was no ambiguity on who was wearing the pants in the government-NGO relationship, and an entire list of sticks assembled to wave as needed.

If NGOs confined themselves to a small area, they lacked scale; if they expanded, they were creating empires. If they developed “models”, they were naïve; if they emphasised nuancing implementation approaches to local contexts, their work lacked replicability.

If they invested too much in community-level processes, they did not understand urgency and lacked outcome orientation; if they invested less in community-level processes, they were taking short-cuts.

For middle class Indians, which had already made the journey from seeing NGOs as woolly-headed do-gooders to development saboteurs, the spin about NGO ineptitude and corruption was easy to accept.

To be accurate, the NGO sector is far from perfect and corruption within it is a genuine problem, but it is clear that a blinkered middle class has focussed largely on the darker end of a large colour spectrum. And the shades have only darkened in these hypernationalistic times.

At the heart of middle class Indians’ contempt for NGOs lies the fear that NGO action may at some point in time achieve the re-setting of power balances and the re-ordering of development priorities it aspires to.

Forward movement on agendas of women’s empowerment, environment, right to information, etc have already confirmed the threat.

The most telling evidence of the middle class Indians’ fears of privilege usurpation lie in its positive image about the new generation corporate philanthropies and foundations – places where the work has the flavours, in some senses, of the old school NGO. Useful work such as building toilets, planting trees, heritage protection, skill training and research happens, but it is work located within a framework set – and consented to – by the elite.

Nobody is washing the nation’s dirty linen abroad. Nobody is losing it in anger. It is all very gentle, very “civil”. Just people like us giving back what we feel ready to give back.

Meanwhile, the fight for a fundamentally better world is happening in messy spaces we have shut ourselves to.

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Ambulance for Pets in Kolkata

Bengal Govt to introduce app-based ambulance for pets & others
Kolkata: The State Animal Resources Development Department will launch an app-based ambulance service soon.
The ambulances would be fitted with an operation theatre for dogs and other pets, and street dogs too. The State Animal Welfare Board is the nodal agency for carrying out the project.
This is for the first time that an ambulance would be introduced for pets in the city. According to the initial plans, an 11-seater ambulance would be operated on the basis of a mobile application.

Apart from an operation theatre, there will be doctors and nurses in the ambulance. There will also be adequate arrangement of oxygen and blood inside the ambulance.
The air-conditioned ambulance will be stationed at the CSPCA Animal Hospital on B B Ganguly Street round-the-clock. The superintendent of CSPCA said that the ambulance service would initially be available till 10 pm. The full-fledged operation would start within a few months from its inception. People can also contact the CSPCA if they require the ambulance.

The civic authorities and various NGOs working for the welfare of the animals can also book the ambulance if required. A campaign would be carried out jointly by the Animal Resources Department and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to make people aware about the initiative. The ambulance facility will be available within KMC limits.

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Actor Salman Khan’s NGO facing blacklisting!

 

Bollywood star Salman Khan’s Being Human Foundation, a charity outfit that works for the underprivileged in the education and healthcare sectors, is likely to be blacklisted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not operating a dialysis centre in Bandra.

After issuing two show-cause notices to the NGO last month, the BMC’s health department is now in the process of blacklisting it.

When contacted, an official with Foundation, who did not want to be identified, said: “We do not wish to say anything.”

Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC’s executive health officer, confirmed that the Foundation is being blacklisted as it has done nothing to start operations at the centre, which has been lying closed and unused since it was set up and handed over to the NGO in 2016. The centre is supposed to offer the medical facility to citizens at minimum cost.

In July 2016, following a tendering process, the NGO was allotted a 250 square metre space at Bandra’s St John Road to run 24 dialysis machines in a public-private partnership basis. “The project was never been implemented. After we sent them a reminder last December, the Foundation responded saying it cannot run the dialysis centre owing to some difficulty,” said Keskar. “We will now issue a notice to blacklist the Foundation.”

The BMC sent two letters to the Bollywood actor’s NGO, on January 6 and January 18, warning the organisation that it would be blacklisted for “showing negligence” after bidding for the project.

As there has been no positive response, the BMC is now refloating tenders for the dialysis centre. Once the Foundation is blacklisted, it cannot bid for the same project again.

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Towards honking free Chandigarh!

In a bid to make the city noise pollution-free, the Chandigarh Traffic Police have initiated a no-honking campaign under which motorists will be sensitised about it and administered a pledge to support the campaign.

The police are also distributing stickers, meant for steering wheels of vehicles with ‘I will not honk’ written on these. The traffic police also encouraged people by asking them to tweet pictures of the steering wheel of their car with a sticker on it. Notably, the campaign was started on January 1.

The traffic policed will start challaning the motorists who will be found honking unnecessarily. The challans will be issued in silence zones-Sector 1 Capitol Complex, Sector 12, Sector 14, and the roads near hospitals and educational institutes, where honking is prohibited.

The traffic police will use body-fitted cameras to record the violations after which the offender will be booked under Section 177of the Motor Vehicles Act and will be fined Rs 1,000. The challaning drive will be conducted in the presence of a traffic marshal.

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SC seeks ideas from NGO to enforce anti-sexual harassment law at workplace

SC seeks ideas from NGO to enforce anti-sexual harassment law at workplace

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the NGO Initiative for Inclusion Foundation (IIF) to give suggestions for the effective implementation of a law to curb sexual harassment of women at workplaces, particularly in the private sector.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the suggestions after the Centre in its affidavit claimed that it has taken steps to enforce the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Appearing for the IIF, senior counsel Sanjay Parikh said there was no implementation of the law in private companies.

He said a meeting was held with ASSOCHAM four years ago but nothing happened later.

The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels.

 

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SOCIAL WORKER – BABA AMTE

Baba Amte (1914-2008).jpg

समाज सेवक

बाबा आम्टे

 

बाबा आम्टे

पूरा नाम

मुरलीधर देवीदास आम्टे

जन्म

24 दिसम्बर, 1914

जन्म भूमि

महाराष्ट्र

मृत्यु

9 फ़रवरी, 2008

मृत्यु स्थान

महाराष्ट्र

नागरिकता

भारतीय

प्रसिद्धि

सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता

विद्यालय

‘क्रिस्चियन मिशन स्कूल’, नागपुर; ‘नागपुर विश्वविद्यालय’

शिक्षा

एम.ए., एल.एल.बी.

पुरस्कार-उपाधि

‘पद्मश्री’ (1971), ‘राष्‍ट्रीय भूषण’ (1978), ‘पद्म विभूषण’ (1986), ‘मैग्‍सेसे पुरस्‍कार’ (1988), ‘बिड़ला पुरस्कार’, ‘महात्मा गांधी पुरस्कार’।

विशेष योगदान

कुष्ठ रोगियों के लिए बाबा आम्टे ने सर्वप्रथम ग्यारह साप्ताहिक औषधालय स्थापित किए, फिर ‘आनंदवन’ नामक संस्था की स्थापना की।

आंदोलन

बाबाजी ने 1985 में कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक और 1988 में असम से गुजरात तक दो बार ‘भारत जोड़ो आंदोलन’ चलाया।

 

अन्य जानकारी
बाबा आम्टे को बचपन में माता-पिता ‘बाबा’ पुकारते थे। इसलिए बाद में भी वे बाबा आम्टे के नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुए।
बाबा आम्टे पूरा नाम ‘मुरलीधर देवीदास आम्टे’ (अंग्रेज़ी: Baba Amte, जन्म: 24 दिसंबर[1] 1914 महाराष्ट्र – मृत्यु: 9 फरवरी 2008 महाराष्ट्र) विख्यात सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता, मुख्‍यत: कुष्‍ठरोगियों की सेवा के लिए विख्‍यात ‘परोपकार विनाश करता है, कार्य निर्माण करता है’ के मूल मंत्र से उन्‍होंने हजारों कुष्‍ठरोगियों को गरिमा और साथ ही बेघर तथा विस्‍थापित आदिवासियों को आशा की किरण दिखाई दी।
जन्म एवं परिवार
विख्यात समाजसेवक बाबा आम्टे का जन्म 24 दिसंबर, 1914 ई. को वर्धा महाराष्ट्र के निकट एक ब्राह्मण जागीरदार परिवार में हुआ था। पिता देवीदास हरबाजी आम्टे शासकीय सेवा में थे। उनका बचपन बहुत ही ठाट-बाट से बीता। वे सोने के पालने में सोते थे और चांदी की चम्मच से उन्हें खाना खिलाया जाता था। बाबा आम्टे को बचपन में माता-पिता ‘बाबा’ पुकारते थे। इसलिए बाद में भी वे बाबा आम्टे के नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुए। बाबा आम्टे के मन में सबके प्रति समान व्यवहार और सेवा की भावना बचपन से ही थी। 9 वर्ष के थे तभी एक अंधे भिखारी को देखकर इतने द्रवित हुए कि उन्होंने ढेरों रुपए उसकी झोली में डाल दिए थे।
विवाह
बाबा आम्टे का विवाह भी एक सेवा-धर्मी युवती साधना से विचित्र परिस्थितियों में हुआ। बाबा आम्टे को दो संतान प्राप्त हुई प्रकाश आम्टे, एवं विकास आम्टे।
शिक्षा
बाबा आम्टे ने एम.ए., एल.एल.बी. तक की पढ़ाई की। उनकी पढ़ाई क्रिस्चियन मिशन स्कूल नागपुर में हुई और फिर उन्होंने नागपुर विश्वविद्यालय में क़ानून की पढ़ाई की और कई दिनों तक वर्धा में वकालत करने लगे। परंतु जब उनका ध्यान अपने तालुके के लोगों की गरीबी की ओर गया तो वकालत छोड़कर वे अंत्यजों और भंगियों की सेवा में लग गए।
समाज सुधार
1942 में भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन के दौरान जेल गए। नेताओं के मुकदमें लड़ने के लिए उन्‍होंने अपने साथी वकीलों को संगठित किया और इन्‍ही प्रयासों के कारण ब्रिटिश सरकार ने उन्‍हे गिरफ्तार कर लिया, लेकिन वरोरा में कीड़ों से भरे कुष्‍ठ रोगी को देखकर उनके जीवन की धारा बदल गई। उन्‍होंने अपना वकालती चोगा और सुख-सुविधा वाली जीवन शैली त्‍यागकर कुष्‍ठरोगियों और दलितों के बीच उनके कल्‍याण के लिए काम करना प्रारंभ कर दिया।
आनंद वन की स्‍थापना
बाबा आम्टे ने कुष्ठ रोग से पीड़ित लोगों की सेवा और सहायता का काम अपने हाथ में लिया। कुष्ठ रोगियों के लिए बाबा आम्टे ने सर्वप्रथम ग्यारह साप्ताहिक औषधालय स्थापित किए, फिर ‘आनंदवन’ नामक संस्था की स्थापना की। उन्होंने कुष्ठ की चिकित्सा का प्रशिक्षण तो लिया ही, अपने शरीर पर कुष्ठ निरोधी औषधियों का परीक्षण भी किया। 1951 में ‘आनंदवन’ की रजिस्ट्री हुई। सरकार से इस कार्य के विस्तार के लिए भूमि मिली। बाबा आम्टे के प्रयत्न से दो अस्पताल बने, विश्वविद्यालय स्थापित हुआ, एक अनाथालय खोला गया, नेत्रहीनों के लिए स्कूल बना और तकनीकी शिक्षा की भी व्यवस्था हुई। ‘आनंदवन’ आश्रम अब पूरी तरह आत्मनिर्भर है और लगभग पाँच हज़ार व्यक्ति उससे आजीविका चला रहे हैं।
भारत जोड़ो आंदोलन
बाबा आम्‍टे ने राष्‍ट्रीय एकता को बढ़ावा देने के लिए 1985 में कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक और 1988 में असम से गुजरात तक दो बार भारत जोड़ो आंदोलन चलाया। नर्मदा घाटी में सरदार सरोवर बांध निर्माण और इसके फलस्‍वरूप हजारों आदिवासियों के विस्‍थापन का विरोध करने के लिए 1989 में बाबा आम्‍टे ने बांध बनने से डूब जाने वाले क्षेत्र में निजी बल (आंतरिक बल) नामक एक छोटा आश्रम बनाया।
पुरस्कार
बाबा आम्टे को उनके इन महान् कामों के लिए बहुत सारे पुरस्कारों से भी सम्मानित किया गया। उन्हें मैगसेसे अवॉर्ड, पद्मश्री, पद्मविभूषण, बिड़ला पुरस्कार, मानवीय हक पुरस्कार, महात्मा गांधी पुरस्कार के साथ-साथ और भी कई पुरस्कारों से नवाजा गया।
• 1971 में भारत सरकार द्वारा पद्मश्री
• 1978 में राष्‍ट्रीय भूषण
• 1983 में अमेरिका का डेमियन डट्टन पुरस्कार
• 1985 में मैग्‍सेसे पुरस्‍कार
• 1986 में पद्म विभूषण
• 1988 में घनश्यामदास बिड़ला अंतरराष्ट्रीय सम्मान
• 1988 में संयुक्त राष्ट्र मानवाधिकार सम्मान
• 1990 में अमेरिकी टेम्पलटन पुरस्कार
• 1991 में ग्लोबल 500 संयुक्त राष्ट्र सम्मान
• 1992 में राइट लाइवलीहुड सम्मान
• 1999 में गाँधी शांति पुरस्कार
• 2004 में महाराष्ट्र भूषण सम्मान[2]
निधन
भारत के विख्यात समाजसेवक बाबा आम्टे का निधन 9 फरवरी, 2008 को 94 साल की आयु में चन्द्रपुर ज़िले के वड़ोरा स्थित अपने निवास में निधन हो गया।

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Child Friendly Courts suggested by SC

The Supreme Court’s judgement came on a PIL seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules.

 

The Supreme Court on Friday passed a slew of directions for effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and asked the Centre and states to ensure that all positions in national and state commissions for the protection of child rights are filled up.

A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also directed the states to ensure that all positions in juvenile justice boards and child welfare committees are filled up expeditiously and in accordance with rules.

Any delay in filling up the positions might adversely impact children and this should be avoided, the bench said.

The top court also requested the chief justices of all high courts to register proceedings on their own for effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

It asked all the high courts to seriously consider establishing child-friendly courts and vulnerable witness courts in each district.

“The ministry of women and child development in the government of India and the state governments should ensure that all positions in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPR) are filled up well in time and adequate staff is provided to these statutory bodies so that they can function effectively and meaningfully for the benefit of the children,” the bench said.

The apex court’s judgement came on a PIL seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules. The petition has raised the issue of alleged apathy by the governments in implementing the welfare measure.

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PAN may soon become Aadhaar of your NGO, Non Profits and Trust.

pan-card-bccl

The government has been in discussions to turn the Permanent Account Number (PAN) into the enterprise unique ID, a feature which was announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/pan-may-soon-become-aadhaar-of-your-business/articleshow/62841804.cms

Among the plethora of IDs which are held by enterprises, making PAN the unique ID will be the most conducive option. This will mean that even the non-tax paying entities such as not-for profits, trusts or societies will have to now apply for a PAN number. It has also been suggested that this PAN number or the unique identity can be linked with the Aadhaar number at the backend.

Read more:  http://ourcivilsociety.com/civil-society-news-pan-may-soon-become-aadhaar-of-your-ngo-non-profits-and-trust/

 

The government has been in discussions to turn the Permanent Account Number (PAN) into the enterprise unique ID, a feature which was announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget.

Though the idea was first mooted a couple of years ago, the recent discussions suggest that among the plethora of IDs which are held by enterprises, making PAN the unique ID will be the most conducive option. This will mean that even the non-tax paying entities such as not-for profits, trusts or societies will have to now apply for a PAN number. It has also been suggested that this PAN number or the unique identity can be linked with the Aadhaar number at the backend.

A government official said that the Centre has been mulling this move for around two years now. “The whole idea is if all are asked to furnish a PAN number regardless of whether they are income tax payees or not, and the Aadhaar number is being asked for people who are behind that entity, then this PAN number can be the unifying factor.”

The official added that this will curb the proliferation of fake entities, NGOs and shell companies since the government will be able to track fraudulent activity much more easily.

Another government official added that directors, promoters and trustees of all the companies will be asked to furnish their individual PAN number as well.

 

There are over 30 crore PAN numbers in the country and around 15 crore have already been linked to Aadhaar as per government estimates. Sachin Seth, Partner-Advisory Services, EY India told ET that most of the corporates today don’t have a single identity and there is a multiple ID system because the corporate landscape has evolved in the country over many years.

“As the government is looking at the bigger ecosystem , it is trying to have a single identity for corporate like we have for an individual in Aadhaar, so that it’s easy to pull out linkages and data.” Another government official said that it is “open” to PAN being the unique identity for the companies.

“If Aadhaar can really get stabilised as national identity like in US, then it can knock off DIN (Director Identification Number),” the official said, adding that the option of PAN replacing the Company Identification Number (CIN) has to be seen.
According to experts, apart from the entities that already have PAN, another 20-22 crore entities will now have to get a PAN registered. They say that the task of allotting new PANs or their linkage with Aadhaar will not be very challenging.
Instead, the insights that analytics of the new data may provide may be very useful for the country’s tax system. “It will clean up the financial markets and the avenues will be much reduced for untraceable, unaccountable transactions,” said Sivarama Krishnan, executive director of PwC.

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NGO – Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation seeks Directives on RPD Act – 2016

Persons with disabilities enjoy a day out at Elliot's beach in Chennai on December 3, 2017.

 

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all states and union territories (UTs) to implement within three months, the 2016 Act on the rights of persons with disabilities.

A division bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice S Abdul Nazeer asked states and UTs to file reports regarding compliance of provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

The court’s order came on a plea filed by the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation seeking direction to the Central government and all states to implement the 2016 Act.

During the hearing, Advocate Manali Singhal, appearing for the foundation told the court that Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Lakshadweep have filed affidavit stating compliance of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. However, the court had sought compliance of 2016 Act.

In 2016, amendments were made in Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 and the apex court had asked states and UTs to implement provisions of new Act.

As compared to the 1995 Act, various new provisions have been included in the 2016 Act and it has expanded the horizon of the rights of such persons, Singhal said.

The apex court had last year asked states to “scrupulously” follow the 2016 Act on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The court had said that 2016 Act is a “sea change in the perception” and exhibits a march forward look with regard to persons with disabilities and roles of state governments, local authorities, educational institutes and companies are given there.

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NGO allowed to receive foreign funds

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which cancelled the FCRA licence of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the country’s largest public health advocacy group last year, has now allowed the NGO to receive foreign funds by “prior permission.”

Its notification said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has contributed Rs. 65 crore towards the corpus fund of the foundation for setting up Indian Institutes of Public Health from its budget.

The notification also said that PHFI had been running five such institutes and working with several State and some departments of the Central government to execute some health projects. To allow such projects to continue, the MHA said, “PHFI shall have to obtain prior permission before acceptance of each contribution.”

The notification also said that PHFI should utilise such foreign contributions lying unused in its bank accounts strictly in accordance with the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

The NGO was barred from receiving foreign funds on the ground, among others, that it used foreign contributions to lobby parliamentarians, the media and the government on tobacco control issues, which “is prohibited under the FCRA.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a major contributor to the NGO.

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