Our Take

NGOs in dock

NGOs in dock

It has been a bad few years for erring NGOs who have been at the receiving end at the hands of both the Government and the Supreme Court. In a major crackdown on the misuse of public funds, the top court in January last year ordered audit of nearly 30 lakh such institutions which, in the name of public good/charity, had been misusing donors'  monies. Towards the end of 2016, the Government cancelled FCRA licenses of 20,000 NGOs. More recently, in April this year, the Central Government barred more than 1,000 NGOs from conducting foreign dealings. But even this clean up of a sector rife with corruption, nepotism and blackmail which give the genuine NGOs working hard to reach where local governments cannot a bad name has had little effect on these organisations a majority of whom seem to think they are above the law. 

In this melee, however, it is essential to distinguish between the good and the bad. To red-flag all NGOs as tainted will scare the ones who have been doing a stellar job. It is essential to draw the line. In inaccessible tribal areas, for example, people feel a connect more with an NGO than a Government official who would have perhaps never visited the area. It is disheartening, therefore, when nobody talks about the effort being made to suppress the impact of the work some NGOs which have become change agents are engaged in. The gang-rape of five women at gunpoint in Jharkhand who were raising awareness about human trafficking allegedly by anti-government activists is shocking. Security must be provided by district administrations to NGOs working in the field and doing what the state has failed to do.



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