NGO’s also to be impacted by GST

MUMBAI: Come July and
goods and services tax
(GST) will play party-pooper to many fundraisers or charity events
organised by non-government organisations (NGOs) and non-profit clubs.
There is likely
to be a steep decline in events as the total landed cost of holding
them would increase by at least 20%.

Many clubs and NGOs that hold meetings or fundraising events would not
be able to get an input credit of the food expenses unlike in current
tax regime
where they would get sales tax credit.

Not just that, many clubs and NGOs are complaining that under GST they
won’t even get input credit on GST paid on the fees paid by their
members.

“Fundraisers may just become an expensive affair. In many cases, input
credit would not be available under GST food and beverages not to
mention the actual
cost of certain services, like say tax on entertainment tickets, is
pegged at 28%,” said Sachin Menon, Head,
Indirect Tax,
KPMG India.

Many clubs like Lions Club or Rotary Club fear that in a way there
could be double taxation for them under GST.

“Whenever we have fundraisers we have to organise events, but GST
could be a double whammy for us. Not only do we have to pay 18% GST on
the membership
fee we collect, when this is spent we also pay GST, but do not get
input credit for the same,” said Ravi Adukia, treasurer, Rotary Club
of Bombay
lubs like Lions Club and Rotary Club operate in a peculiar manner.
They collect fees from their members and pay an annual fee to the
parent organisation.
The objective of these clubs is to collect funds for some social
activities. Fundraisers or events would normally be held at hotels.
While GST rate for
ordinary hotels is 18%, that on five-star and expensive hotels is 28%.

“We call high networth individuals for these fundraising events. The
objective is to collect funds and then donate it,” said an NGO
official.

“We used to get an input credit for
service tax
of about 10.15% to 14.5% for both food and beverages cost as well as
subscription paid by members, which is not available under GST. For
us, it would
be double taxation as not only are we incurring GST at the rate of 18%
on subscription, we would get no input tax credit when that money is
spent on food
and beverages during an event,” said Ashok Mehra, a chartered
accountant who helps many clubs with their taxes.

The issue under GST is that the framework does not allow credit of
expenses incurred for activities that may not be directly construed as
related to business.
This would include expenses incurred for food and beverages.

Insiders say many clubs would now try to create structures that can
circumvent GST regulations. “The rules would force many clubs to limit
number of partners
and fees collected from them to stay out of GST net,” said a senior
official with a Mumbai-based club. “We don’t mind paying GST on the
subscription fees
but not allow input credit for food and beverage expenses incurred
during meetings or events is a huge expense for us,” he said.

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Summer Camp for underprivileged ends

The 10 day Free Summer Camp for Underprivileged girls ended today with a cultural performance, exhibition of activities and prize distribution at the hands of Dr. Dharamvir from PGI and Director of National Rehabilitation Institute, as the Chief Guest.

 

A local NGO, Disha organised the Summer Camp for the personality development of poor children, free of charge. The campers were given snacks and drinks by raising donations during the camp the campers were trained in dance, personal safety, hygiene, painting and creating utility items. It was learning during re – creation.

 

Dr. Monica Singh, Professor of Social Work from Punjab University was a Guest of Honour. She distributed certificates to the Volunteers who managed the camp.

 

Smt. Jatinder Kaur, Vice President of Disha NGO outlined the activities of Disha while Smt. Lata Dua secretary hosted the camp. She announced the starting of the free preparatory class for non school going poor girls from July 3, 2017.

 

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90% OF THE CHILDREN IN INDIA ARE DEPRIVED OF ADEQUATE NUTRITION: Report by CRY Ngo

According to the reports of a leading Indian NGO called CRY, most children in India under the age of 2 years do not have access to good quality food and adequate nutrition. The NGO based their report on the figures of the recent data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) (2015-16 which shows that Nine out of 10 children in the age group of 6 to 23 months do not receive an adequate diet.

This data is very disappointing as kids who do not have a healthy start and are under-nourished bear the brunt of it in adulthood. According to Komal Ganotra, Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy for CRY (Child Rights and You),”Illnesses in children and lack of adequate and appropriate nutrition is a vicious cycle which needs constant attention through preventive as well as promotive approaches.

It has been further recorded that four out of five worst performing states when it comes to a child’s diet are from North India. Rajasthan is at the bottom where only about three per cent children have access to good food and in Uttar Pradesh the figure is slightly higher where five per cent children are well nourished. As far as the National capital is concerned, despite being one of the most equipped cities, only six per cent of the children in the city receive proper nutrition. Even Tamil Nadu which has the highest percentage of children receiving adequate nutrition, the number does not cross 31 per cent.
Ganotra also attributes this to the health of the mothers and says that the child’s health depends on the nutrition supplied to him or her in the mother’s womb. But the figures in this case too are dismal. Fifty per cent of the pregnant women (15-49 years) were found to be anaemic according to the NFHS-4 and only 21 per cent received complete antenatal care. Poor health of mothers is affecting the physical as well as the mental development of their children.

“The Integrated Child Development Scheme, which addresses nutritional needs of children in an early age (under 6) and expectant mothers, has the right intent to ensure a solid foundation for children when maximum brain development occurs.It is non-negotiable for the state to ensure adequate budget and robust implementation mechanism for greater convergence of health and nutrition services for every child in the country,” Ganotra concluded.

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Women Burnt With Acid, Kerosene Lack Support To Rebuild Their Lives, Says NGO

Tens of thousands of women are attacked and burned with acid, kerosene, gas or alcohol every year, yet ignorance about the long-term impact of their injuries means few receive support to rebuild their lives, a non-profit said.

The Chennai-based International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), which works with victims of domestic violence, said burn attacks are one of the worst forms of violence against women.

Not only do many victims suffer deformities and disfigurement, they also face trauma and low self-esteem, and lack the will to continue with their lives, it added.

PCVC said even though victims in India received medical treatment, there was little else in terms of support — leaving many to cope alone with the dramatic changes to their lives.

“With no disrespect to other forms of violence against women, those who suffer from burns suffer uniquely because of overt social stigma and family rejection, many of them doubly so because they are poor, uneducated or unskilled,” said PCVC Founder and CEO Prasanna Gettu.

Ms Gettu, who was speaking at the launch of a handbook and national helpline to support burn victims, said it was essential to provide psycho-social, legal and financial help for victims.

There is no accurate data on the number of people suffering burn injuries in India. A June 2016 medical paper published on the science website, Researchgate, estimates there are seven million injuries every year — resulting in 140,000 deaths.

The paper said women account for 65 per cent of deaths caused by burn injuries. Although some deaths are due to accidents in the kitchen or house fires, many result from domestic violence.

Newspapers often report cases of women being attacked with acid by jilted partners or being doused in kerosene and then set alight by their husbands or in-laws in rows over dowry.

Activists say most attacks against women using acid, kerosene or alcohol are perpetrated by husbands, partners or other families. But they also say some women are driven to self-immolation or suicide by some form of abuse

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NGO Deccan Development Society (DDS) – Making waves: First all-women radio station of Telangana

About 110 km from Hyderabad, Pastapur is a small village in Telangana’s Sangareddy district. It is making waves: Running a community radio — run by women, for women and of women belonging to weaker sections.

Billed as India’s first such initiative, ‘Sangam Radio’ covers nearly 150 villages in the district with programmes packed with social messages, folk songs, farming and health tips, skits and information about local festivals and fairs. The two-hour long programme, broadcast from 7 pm to 9 pm every day, is conceived and executed by members of women’s groups, or Sangams, as they are called.

“You can see people in all these villages glued to their radio sets in the evenings to listen to our programmes. We also have an interactive session where callers can share their experiences with us,” says producer H Narsamma, a Dalit woman, the brain behind the initiative. She and her colleagues work in the fields during the day and turn broadcasters by the evening. An all-women bureau of reporters goes out into the field to get stories.

“When we visit a village, we meet different kinds of people and record their observations on various issues, including farming. We also record songs that are sung while working in the fields or during weddings and festivals,” Narasamma says.

Narsamma and Algole Narsamma multitask as reporter, producer, RJ and station managers. Theirs has been an arduous journey. Help came from the local NGO Deccan Development Society (DDS), engaged in rural development, women empowerment and education. It started the project in 1998, but had to wait for nearly 10 years to get a licence from the Centre. It went on air on October 15, 2008.

The DDS works with about 100 Dalit women’s groups (Sangams) consisting of nearly 5,000 members across 75 villages. With the support from UNESCO, it established an FM radio station, a transmission tower and recording facilities in the village. The radio was conceived with the objective of helping the village communities articulate their concerns, give the marginalized a voice and disseminate the traditional knowledge about farming, biodiversity, and public health.

While awaiting the government’s approval, Sangam had in 1999 started narrow-casting in which recordings were made on a tape and was broadcast for a limited audience in a place where the communities could gather. Half-a-dozen women from Dalit, poor, landless families were trained in all aspects of radio programming. The radio now runs with eight reporters and all of them are on the rolls of the DDS. Over the years, Sangam has collected of about 2,500 songs sung by members of the community, often with instrumental accompaniment.

“We were identified as a partner for UNESCO’s ‘Women Speak to Women’ project. As part of this, we established the radio station with the programming content aimed at serving the information, education, and cultural needs of the region,” says Director of DDS, PV Satheesh. The information specific to agricultural needs, education, literacy, public health and hygiene, environmental issues, food security, gender justice and indigenous knowledge systems went into the programming content.

Initially, UNESCO gave Rs 28 lakh to set up the radio station. The funds were utilized for buying land. The transmitter also came in as a donation from UNESCO. The DDS pays for the maintenance and production of programmes which cost around Rs 4 lakh a year. It is currently being assisted by development and communication experts from universities in the region.

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