Apex NGO body hits hard at gold-diggers among volunteers

The voluntary sector in India has been completely sidelined by successive governments,with the sector itself been dominated by unscrupulous elements whose sole intention is to earn money.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: February 11, 2009 2:07 am

Nearly 40-50 new trusts are being registered at Dahod alone. If even a fraction were doing worthwhile work,things would have improved

The voluntary sector in India has been completely sidelined by successive governments,with the sector itself been dominated by unscrupulous elements whose sole intention is to earn money. This was the consensus that emerged from the state consultation on ‘National Policy on Voluntary Sector’ in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

The event was organised by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) Ahmedabad,an organisation working in entrepreneurship education,and Voluntary Action Network India (VANI),New Delhi,the apex body of Indian NGOs,comprising 237 organisations and 19 networks.

It may be mentioned here that the national policy approved on May 17,2007,aims to establish environment by enacting liberal central laws for registration of voluntary organisations,develop instruments of partnership between the government and the voluntary sector; and strengthen the sector by encouraging independent philanthropic institutions to provide financial assistance to deserving Voluntary Organisations (VOs).

P K Ghosh,former Additional Chief Secretary,Gujarat,while noting the issues with the policy document,said: “With this partnership clause,the voluntary sector is bound to loose its freedom,which is a dangerous proposition for a democratic country.”

Lalit Kumar,Joint Advisor Planning Commission,Government of India,acknowledged the fact that mushrooming of voluntary organisations indicate the failure of the government machinery. He said: “Taking clue from the Moiley Committee’s 8th report on Social Capital,the time has come to establish a separate ministry for the voluntary sector. This,along with a National Policy on Accreditation,will help in ensuring self-regulation and accountability of the voluntary sector.” Moving to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wings of various companies,R K Sama,Project Director of Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO),Gandhinagar,said: “There is hardly any company which is interested in genuine CSR. It is just a ploy to save taxes.”

Similar concerns were expressed by Harnath Jagawat,Director,Sadguru Water and Development Foundation,Dahod.

He said,corrupt organisations still get all the projects as the booty is shared between them and the government officials.

Giving an example,he said: “Nearly 40 to 50 new trusts are being registered every day at the Dahod Charitable Trust office. If even a fraction was doing some worthwhile work,Dahod wouldn’t have remained the most backward district in Gujarat.”

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