Charity office says not enough staff,law ministry says not so

By its own admission,the Charity Commissioner’s office in Pune has no staff to monitor the 32,000-odd trusts in the city.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune | Published:January 19, 2009 1:15 am

By its own admission,the Charity Commissioner’s office in Pune has no staff to monitor the 32,000-odd trusts in the city. In a reply to a Right To Information (RTI) application filed by city BJP vice president Sandeep Khardekar,the Charity Commissioner’s office has also admitted that while it has been receiving all details on balancesheets from registered trusts — which include all top hospitals of the city — there is no one to monitor them.

This has,however,been denied by the law ministry,which supervises the Charity Commissioner’s department.

According to a High Court order,it is mandatory for hospitals that run on charity to reserve 10 per cent of their beds for the “poor” (BPL families),and 20 per cent for economically weaker sections (as defined by the district collector’s office).

In its reply,the department has said it has not been able to monitor whether the hospitals are following the process. “If someone comes to us with a complaint,we can take cognisance,” said the department’s information officer.

Despite these admissions,M L Gilani,the principal secretary for law,under whom the Charity Commissioner’s department falls,refused to accept that there was a staff shortage.

“As and when we get proposals for increasing staff from the departments across the state,we process them and sanction the posts after scrutiny. Most of the 32,000-odd registered trusts operate with very little money,or are dead. It is not possible to monitor all of them,but we do have provisions to monitor the top trusts,” the principal secretary said.

He added that in the last three months,48 posts had been sanctioned across the state. “However,the recruitment and processing is still on,” he said.

If a hospital is not allotting a bed to the poor and the economically weak,a complaint could be made with the Charity Commissioner’s office,he added.

Khardekar,meanwhile,has written to the Minister of State for Law,Hasan Mussarif,and asked him to personally look into the matter.

He said,“These trusts monitor money that runs into crores. How can the department allow these trusts to be run on blind faith,without any supervision?”

Khardekar has raised the concern that the 32,242 trusts are yet to be computerized. “This process should be expedited,”he said.

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