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Deadline extended, but NGOs ask why they should declare assets

Non-profit organisations fear Lokpal act can be used to harass them

Written by Shyamlal Yadav , Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Updated: July 28, 2016 12:51 pm
ngos, ngo government, ngo foreign fundng, ngo assets, ngo public servants, bjp ngos, modi ngos, bjp government, indian government ngos, india news Many NGOS like Greenpeace have raised concerns over the DoPT notification. File Photo/Agencies (representational)

NGOs across sectors have slammed the DoPT notification declaring NGO office bearers as public servants and mandating them to declare assets if they receive foreign funding of more than Rs 10 lakh or government grant of more than Rs 1 crore.

While the government Wednesday amended the Lokpal Act to give reprieve to central government employees and NGO office bearers from declaring their assets by July 31, many civil society organisations called the initial move an “absurd” exercise that can be “misused to harass civil society”. The provision will now be examined in detail by a Parliamentary Standing Committee that will submit its report before next session of Parliament.

“By calling NGO officials ‘public servants’ and extending the Lokpal to them, the government will end up diluting the purpose of the Lokpal. There is also a danger that the Lokpal will be used to harass NGOs, who are voicing dissent and are raising issues that the government finds unpalatable,” said Nisha Agrawal, the CEO of OXFAM India.

Biraj Patnaik, Right to Food activist and advisory board member for Amnesty India International, said “This is a retrograde step and is a setback to the Lokpal movement. We won’t advance unless there is full public disclosure by public servants, their spouses and children. NGOs should never have been defined as public servants in the first place. That is an independent issue that NGOs must resolve by going to the court. But using that as an excuse these amendments are being moved to benefit the actual public servants.”

Questioning government’s motives, Greenpeace Executive Director Ravi Chellam added: “…the question is whether these (measures) are being brought in for ensuring accountable and transparent governance or as a punitive measure to target individual NGOs..”

WATCH VIDEO: Govt Introduces Bill To Amend Lokpal Act Clause Pertaining To NGOs


Vijai Pratap, the organiser of Samajwadi Samagam who is also associated with various NGOs, expressed similar fears. “We should all be accountable to general public…But at this juncture it seems the ruling establishment wants to shrink the space of political action and civil action….”

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the government had received several representations from MPs and other stakeholders. On July 25, a delegation of MPs had also met PM Narendra Modi demanding deletion of the provision, he said. “Till the present impasse is over, the deadline with regard to government servants (for declaring assets) can be deferred,” Singh said as he moved the amendment.

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  1. A
    Jul 28, 2016 at 7:38 am
    Is there anything wrong in declaring ones ets ? ONLY if the ets are ill gotten.
    1. D
      Jul 28, 2016 at 8:01 am
      Right. What we know is this - most NGOs are fronts of politicians to mint money, divert funds. And then, there are those used for extortion. A protest here, a dharna there. Hope the hapless industrialist will cough up something. It was earlier the unions, now we have this.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Since so much black money is channeled through NGOs, why will they not declare ets? I am a ried employee, have no income other than my ry. I am obliged to declare all my ets, including tiny amount of company stock that is given as sweat equity. Are the NGOs some special breed of humans that need to be handled with kid gloves?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I was vehemently against the policies of the UPA government (most of them), and I am against many policies of the present, even though politically aligned on most issues. I was a dissenter, and continue to be a selective dissenter. Do I get to stop paying taxes? Should I not have to file a return?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;These NGOs and the people that run them have just provided more evidence of their hypocrisy and mental vacuum.
      1. Faf Devillers
        Jul 28, 2016 at 8:45 am
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        1. G
          Jul 28, 2016 at 4:26 am
          The vast majority of NGOs are fake. Many run multiple NGOs. Some NGOs are used for blackmail in order to extract money. Others support extremist violence while calling for human rights. Why should NGOs get exemptions for rules that they have fought to impose on others?
          1. R
            Jul 28, 2016 at 12:52 am
            Most of NGOs in India are fake. They receive foreign funds, pay NO taxes and enrich themselves. They are supposed to be serving the society. Instead many of them oppose any economic development which helps the poorest. Nothing wrong in more transparency with NGOs.NGOs should declare their ets to the public - why the secrecy?
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