NGO foils 14-yr-old marriage

City police and the volunteers of Vasavya Mahila Mandali jointly averted the marriage of a child at the last moment The Vasavya Mahila Mandali members were informed by some unknown persons that a 14-year-old girl was getting married in Gunadala area but they could tell them about the location of the marriage. The Vasavya Mahila Mandali members informed the police who searched all the function halls, temples and churches in the entire Gunadala area.

A survey undertaken by an NGO found that 1,71,083 girls and  ,72,934 boys had been married off in Andhra Pradesh in the last five years before they attained the marriageable age of  of 18 and 21, respectively.

Read More

Pakistan ki Sarvashreshth Urdu Kahaniyan Edited by Nand Kishore Vikram

Pakistan ki Sarvashreshth Urdu Kahaniyan Edited by Nand Kishore Vkram

Presented by: Anant Alam

 

पाकिस्तान की सर्वश्रेष्ठ उर्दू कहानियां दोनों खंड एक साथ नन्द किशोर विक्रम

खंड – 1 में बीसवीं शताब्दी की पहली अर्ध शताब्दी (1901-1950) के दौरान ख्याति प्राप्त करने वाले उन पाकिस्तानी लेखकों की सर्वश्रेष्ठ और बहु – चर्चित कहानिया शामिल की गयी है जिन्हे कथा सहतिया में महत्वपूर्ण स्थान प्राप्त है :

इन कहानियो के रचयिता है:-

मिसिस अब्दुल कादिर,हिजाब इम्तियाज़ अली,मुमताज़ मुफ़्ती,सैयद अनवर,गुलाम अब्बास,स्यादत हसन मंटो,मिर्ज़ा अदीब,रेहमान मजनाब,अहमद नदीम कास्मि,मिर्ज़ा रियाज़,कुदरतुल्लाह शहाब,मुहम्मद खालिद अख्तर,आगा बाबर,शफीकुर्रहमान,मेहमूद इंतज़ार हुसैन,गुलमुल सुकलें नकवी,शौकत सिद्दीकी,हामिद अख्तर,इब्राहिम जलीस,इश्फाक अहमद

खंड -२ में बीसवीं शताब्दी की दूसरी अर्ध शताब्दी (1950-2000) के दौरान ख्याति प्राप्त करने वाले उन पाकिस्तानी लेखकों की सर्वश्रेष्ठ और बहु – चर्चित कहानिया शामिल की गयी है जिन्हे कथा सहतिया में महत्वपूर्ण स्थान प्राप्त है :

इन कहानियो के रचयिता है:-

खदीजा मास्टरअसद मुहम्मद खान,बानो कुदसिया, फरखुंदा लोधी, हाजरा मसरूर, मुहम्मद मंशा, अख्तर जमाल, सायरा हासमी, मसऊद अशआर  जाहिदा हिना, मुहम्मद सलीमुर्रहमान, अहमद जावेद, हसन मंज़र, अहमद दाऊद, सलीम अख्तर, मिर्ज़ा हामिद बेग, अनवर, सज्जाद, गुलजार जावेद, सैयदा हिना, आसिफ फरुखी.

Khand/Bhaag – 1

 

1.Track 1. mp3

2.Track 2.mp3

3.Track 3.mp3

4.Track 4.mp3

5.Track 5.mp3

6.Track 6.mp3

7.Track 7.mp3

8.Track 8.mp3

9.Track 9.mp3

10.Track 10.mp3

11.Track 11.mp3

12.Track 12.mp3

13.Track 13.mp3

14.Track 14.mp3

15.Track 15.mp3

16.Track 16.mp3

17.Track 17.mp3

18.Track 18.mp3

19.Track 19.mp3

20.Track 20.mp3

21.Track 21.mp3

 

Khand/Bhaag – 2

1. Track 1.mp3

2. Track 2.mp3

3.Track 3.mp3

4.Track 4.mp3

5.Track 5.mp3

6.Track 6.mp3

7.Track 7.mp3

8.Track 8.mp3

9.Track 9.mp3

10.Track 10.mp3

11.Track 11.mp3

12.Track 12.mp3

13.Track 13.mp3

14.Track 14.mp3

15.Track 15.mp3

16.Track 16.mp3

17.Track 17.mp3

18.Track 18.mp3

19.Track 19.mp3

20.Track 20.mp3

21.Track 21.mp3

Read More

Government to check funding of NGOs involved in ‘anti-national activities’

Narendra ModiIn a closed-door, high-level meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked top security officials to work with the state police to monitor how NGOs and groups suspected to be involved in anti-national activities are funded. Top sources said Modi recently expressed concerned over the subject, and that the Ministry of Home Affairs will engage with states to deal with the matter.

In the last couple of years, government agencies have brought numerous NGOs under the scanner for allegedly misappropriating funds and engaging in activities believed to be detrimental to the sovereignty of the country. Even the Supreme Court had observed last year that the Centre must frame rules to regulate government funding to NGOs. Around 30 lakh NGOs operate in India, but merely 10 percent of them file their balance sheets. This allows a large number of these organisations to freely operate without accountability and spend more than the Rs 900 crore the government grants them every year, besides the thousands of   cores that pour in as foreign contributions.

 

“A vibrant civil society is vital for democracy, but some recent incidents in India raised suspicion over the intent of some of these NGOs said to be fighting for a cause,” a top government officer said. “The apex court, too, had raised questions over transparency in civil society organisations, and a Central Bureau of Investigation report had clearly highlighted that a majority of these groups operate without any accountability. NGOs could be a tool for social change, but at the same time, this potent medium could be used for activities that may adversely affect the interests of the country.”

Article 19 (1) (C) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all citizens the right to form associations and unions, subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign nations, public order, decency and morality.

In 2017, the Supreme Court, in writ petition (CRL) No 172/2011, had directed the Government of India to frame guidelines for accreditation of NGOs, provisions for the manner in which those that receive grants must maintain their accounts and also for how the accounts of NGOs will be audited. The court had observed that guidelines must specify a procedure to initiate action to recover grants in case of defalcation, including criminal action when called for.

Robust monitoring mechanism required

The prime minister’s directive to have state police monitor the funding of NGOs and other organisations involved in anti-national activities is based on evidence that reveals huge sums circulating in the coffers of civil society groups and several organisations suspected to be involved in anti-India activities. Some like the Islamic Research Foundation headed by controversial preacher Zakir Naik were found to be using grants to radicalise youths.

NGOs are receiving nearly Rs 27,000 crore in domestic and foreign grants. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there are approximately 25,000 active organisations registered under The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. Records suggest that NGOs  received foreign contributions to the tune of Rs 18,065 crore for various social, cultural, economic, educational and religious activities in 2016-17. A majority of these NGOs also received funds from companies under Corporate Social Responsibility mandated by the government.

Former senior police officer VN Rai told Firstpost that the system to monitor NGOs needs massive reform, and there has to be a clear distinction between a good civil society group and organisations that are set up primarily to siphon off money.

Rai said NGOs play a vital role in raising issues crucial for society and nation-building, and the handful of organisations involved in unwanted activities can easily be controlled by laws. “There are many NGOs doing fantastic work in the social and environmental sector,” he said. “They are speaking up for the downtrodden and people living in the margins. But there are some NGOs that indulge in nefarious activities, and they may have the patronage of the government or administration of the day. The state police does monitor the working of such NGOs along with the home ministry, which keeps track of foreign funding. If the government wants, it can reform the system and install more checks and balances against NGOs working against the interest of the country.”

FCRA crackdown

On 1 June, Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh launched an online analytical tool to facilitate closer monitoring of the flow and use of foreign contributions organisations registered under the FCRA receive. The tool enables decision-makers in various departments of the government to scrutinise the source of the funds and their actual use in the country.

File image of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“It gives them the capacity to make data-driven and evidence-based decisions regarding the compliance of the provisions of the FCRA,” the ministry had said. “It has analytical features for big data mining and data exploration. Its dashboard will be integrated with the bank accounts of FCRA-registered entities through the Public Financial Management System for updation of transactional data on a real-time basis.There are hundreds of thousands of such transactions annually, which can be monitored effectively through this tool. It will, therefore, help stakeholders in the government to better regulate acceptance and utilisation of foreign contributions.”

In April, the ministry had issued notices to over 3,000 NGOs for not filing their annual returns from 2011-12 to 2016-17. Several NGOs were also found to have disappeared, including 369 in Andhra Pradesh, 431 in Uttar Pradesh, 299 in Delhi, 71 in Jharkhand, 126 in Madhya Pradesh, 519 in Maharashtra, 43 in Chhatisgarh and 262 in Bihar. Last year, the ministry had also cancelled the FCRA licences of 166 NGOs operating from Delhi, including that of the Public Health Foundation of India and the Centre for Alternative Dalit Media. Similarly, after a crackdown in Andhra Pradesh, the licences of 454 NGOs were cancelled.

Anil Chaudhary, coordinator of Delhi-based NGO INSAF, told Firstpost that the government had recently eased a few FCRA norms, with which voluntary organisations violating the rules may get away with it by paying a penalty. This move will only aid corrupt civil society groups and risk punishment for the good ones. INSAF’s FCRA licence was cancelled in 2013, and the Centre had also turned down its application for renewal, citing adverse inputs received from a security agency. In an affidavit, the government had said INSAF had violated provisions of the FCRA by transferring foreign funds to 15 non-FCRA registered NGOs and individuals who had actively campaigned against nuclear power plants and genetic modified foods.

“The fate of NGOs did not change even after the government changed from UPA to NDA,” Chaudhary said. “Both governments targeted NGOs doing significant work in various fields. They need to understand that if violations can be negated by paying a meager penalty, it will help only the corrupt NGOs. On the other hand, the government and its agencies already have mechanism in place to monitor movement of funds from one account to another of all NGOs receiving foreign funds. All entries in the bank accounts are duly reported to the government. Why the government requires more and intense monitoring is beyond comprehension.”

Foreign funding allegedly used to derail projects

In June 2014, an Intelligence Bureau report had revealed that some foreign donors cleverly disguise their donations as funding for protection of human rights, getting a just deal for people displaced by projects, protection of the livelihood of indigenous people, protecting religious freedom, etc.

Representative image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“A significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in the US, UK, Germany and Netherlands) have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment that lends itself to stalling development projects,” said the Intelligence Bureau report reviewed by Firstpost. “These foreign donors lead local NGOs to provide field reports, which are used to build a record against India and serve as tools for the strategic foreign policy interests of western governments. Also, Dutch government-funded NGOs have slowly shifted focus from human rights in Kashmir to the twin issues of violence against women and prevention of extractive industries in the North East.”

In 2015, following reports that several NGOs were allegedly involved in anti-national activities, the government had asked spy agency Research and Analysis Wing to verify the antecedents of the donors and source of funding when the amounts exceed Rs 1 crore. The Centre had also said no foreigner can be an office-bearer or trustee in an NGO but can be associated only in an honorary capacity.

A three-tiered monitoring system

The government has argued in favor of setting up a mechanism to monitor the source of funds, which is the lifeline of voluntary organisations, and continue to monitor their expenditure. Last year, several government departments had worked out guidelines to create an enabling environment for civil society groups that could stimulate their enterprise and effectiveness and also identify mechanisms through which the government could work with voluntary organisations on the basis of mutual trust and shared responsibility while ensuring transparency and accountability. The Ministry of Rural Development had suggested uniformly instituting a three-tier monitoring mechanism for central government departments — comprising an in-house monitoring process — state-level and district-level monitoring committees as well as an independent third-party monitoring system, which may be operated by government think-tank NITI Aayog.

“Monitoring should not only look at the physical and financial aspects but also quality aspects,” the ministry had suggested in its draft guidelines. “Norms should be applied for the number of visits by monitoring entities and completion of a project should be linked to satisfactory performance. Performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, wherever necessary, at the ministry level or sector level may be done periodically. Fund-based accounting may be introduced for earmarked funds by the NGOs, and all grants received from the government should be separately accounted for.”

Read More

Literary meet of Transgenders

Kolkata Set to Host India's 1st Transgender Poetry Meet, Faces Backlash from Critics

 

Kolkata: India’s first government-sponsored poetry meet for transgenders–‘Transgender Poets’ Meet’– is set to be held in Kolkata on July 17.

Six transgender poets and writers from West Bengal will be participating in the event, organised by Sahitya Akademi, an organization under the Union Culture Ministry.

Among those who are likely to participate in the meet are Rani Majumder, Aruna Nath, Anjali Mandal, Debdutta Biswas and Debojyoti Bhattacharya.

The idea to hold the event was put forward by Manabi Bandopadhyay, who is a college principal and a trans-woman. “We had organised Nari Chetana (Women Empowerment) Diwas on International Women’s Day. Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay suggested that we should consider organizing exclusive events for transgender writers and poets,” said Mihir Sahu, officer-in-charge, Eastern Region, Sahitya Akademi.Speaking to News18 Manabi Bandopadhyay said, “As a member of the advisory board of the eastern regional centre of Sahitya Akademi, I suggested that such events for transgender persons will help them to showcase their creativity. We are doing this on an experimental basis and I am sure we will get a good response.”

However, transgender activist Ranjita Sinha, who is also a member of the Bengal Transgender Development Board opposed the move and claimed that such events with a handful of transgender people would hardly enable the community establish their dignity in society.

“I was shocked when I came to know about this. I am sorry for my trans-brothers and sisters across Bengal. Since the NALSA verdict, we have failed to ensure basic human rights to the members of my community. Be it medical, employment generation or proper census of my community population, we have failed,” she said.

Sinha said that such literary festivals mocked the transgenders when less than one per cent of them are unable to attain basic education.

She also expressed her displeasure over Manabi leading the event. “I am equally shocked to know that our Vice Chairperson, Manabi, is taking the lead in this event. Is such an event is the current need of trans people? Or is it Roti, Kapda, Makan? In the coming days the starving, deprived, discriminated trans citizens are going to ask for an answer to this question,” said Sinha.

Read More

India launches National Digital Library

On 19 June, the Union Human Development Minister, Mr Prakash Javadekar launched the National Digital Library in the country’s capital. The library is a source of millions of academic texts from around the world which will be open to the general public.

According to an official release by the Human Resource Development (HRD), the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) is a project of the Ministry under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT). The National Digital Library aims to make digital educational resources available to all Indian citizens to empower, inspire and encourage learning.

The work on developing and implementing the National Digital Library began in 2015; it was built by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur using technology provided the HRD Ministry. The digital library is just one project under the Digital India plan that was initiated by Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi.

Mr Prakash Javadekar said that the National Digital Library will make learning resources available to users, the library has over 17 million source materials from more than 160 sources, in over 200 languages and according to the press release, around 3 million users are registered on the National Digital Library.

Apart from the website, the Ministry has also made the National Digital Library available on phones through its mobile application; the National Digital Library Mobile App will enable people to access a vast reservoir of digital content from not only the country but across the globe as well. Digital information will be able to reach users even the most remote parts of India.

Mr Prakash Javadekar said that the app, which already has 670,000 downloads, is currently available for both iPhone and Android users; learners can look for particular information using parameters like the subject matter, source, and content type etc. As of now, the app is available in three languages – English, Hindi and Bengali.

The National Digital Library uses a single-window system to increase efficiency through time and cost savings. The platform collects and organises metadata from leading learning institutions in India and from across the globe. It is a digital repository containing textbooks, articles, videos, audiobooks, lectures, simulations, fiction and other kinds of learning media.

According to Mr Prakash Javadekar, the National Digital Library is a round-the-clock knowledge centre that is will be made accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Anybody can access the digital library anytime and anywhere and will be contributing to the Government’s Read More India (Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat)plan that aims to improve the language and mathematics skills of the youth of the country, primarily.

The National Digital Library initiative will be able to help thousands of students in the country by providing free source material like textbooks and guides that were previously hard to come by, being both expensive and limited. The Minister of Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma stated that the collaboration between the National Digital Library by Ministry of Human Resource Development and the National Virtual Library of India platform by Ministry of Culture will reach a large number of leaners in India and attract global attention with its progress.

The National Virtual Library of India, which is a part of the National Mission on Libraries of the Ministry of Culture, is also an online library with resources covering a large number of fields, including arts, music, dance, culture, theatre, science, technology, archaeology, literature, e-papers and manuscripts, among others. All of this information has been gathered, collated and presented on a single online platform- the website.

The National Digital Library will change the way education is accessed and presented in India, and through this initiative, every citizen in India will be given the digital tools and resources to empower themselves.

Read More