Concerned over the need to govern the voluntary groups,ensure transparency in their funding and transform them into effective instruments of development,the Planning Commission is actively considering to recommend setting up of an autonomous watchdog to streamline their functioning.
The move follows a Cabinet directive to this effect which seeks to model the watchdog on the lines of bodies such as the Charity Commission of the UK. The commission is keen to ensure that the proposed body remains independent. This became known at a meeting of journalists with some NGOs working to improve transparency. CSO Partners Soumitra Ghosh,Financial Management Service Foundation executive director Sanjay Patra,Murray Culshaw Consulting Group head Murray Culshaw and Credibility Alliance deputy director Vijay Nadkarni were among those who spoke to the journalists.
They said that for some reason the image of the NGOs had not always been inspiring in public perception,but often all of them were painted with the same brush. They said the answer to this problem was better transparency in their operations.
Soumitra Ghosh said considerable doubts remained in some quarters about their functioning and an easier presentation of the annual reports with better quality would go a long way to bring in transparency.
To stress the importance of more transparent annual reports,a function has been organised here to give awards to the outstanding annual reports made by NGOs. These unique awards would be given away by Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah. This year entries were received from as many as 207 organisations from all over the country. These NGOs are working for the welfare of the poor and the destitute,the elderly,and terminally ill and physically and mentally challenged people.