By Dr. Satyavan Saurabh
During the coronavirus pandemic, the central, state governments and the administration are working vigorously at their level. Along with these efforts of the government, many charitable institutions and NGOs across the country are working to make it successful so that more and more people can be saved from this epidemic in the country. But you must have seen that in ordinary days, the registered NGOs who are being dominated in the media world by propagating their branch and receiving their help from place to place, do not know where the NGOs have been during this time.
There is some exception who performed his duty. But the rest did not. How good it would be if these registered NGOs claiming social work from cities and towns to taluka level would come forward to help the needy to meet this challenge. If half of these organizations too would have been prepared, then it would have been easier for the country to face this challenge.
The role played by NGOs during natural or man-made disasters is questionable as to their existence. And the role of the administration in this also raises questions about why they are given free billions of billions of rupees every year or that there are politicians and big houses behind these NGOs. Those who limelight their name as well as to make themselves shine in the headlines. These NGOs tend to add false hands, to show false teeth, to be photographed, and to propagate to raise funds.
All the non-governmental organizations in India, all come up with the idea of setting high values, service, and philanthropy. But behind the scenes, in the race for fundraising, they adopt a culture of selfishness and pocket stuffing. Money and service issues tend to be exploited instead of value. Today we also need to highlight these approaches with careful analysis of these NGOs.
Since independence, non-governmental organizations have played an important role in helping the needy in India, providing assistance and elevating the socio-economic status of millions of people in the country. However, their role in providing relief during disasters is limited to not only providing assistance but also reconstructing the destroyed landscape and providing relief when working hand-in-hand with public officials.
At present, about 33 lakh NGOs doing social service are registered in the country and these organizations have received billions of rupees from the Central and State Government. Many of these organizations also get financial help from abroad for their philanthropic work. Who is gaining a large amount of money from abroad? Most of them do not even file income tax returns and there is no one to take account of them.
The NGOs play an important role in providing relief in natural and man-made disasters. A natural or man-made disaster is a result of natural or man-made causes. Which causes sudden disruption of normal life, causing serious damage to life and property to an extent. Which are insufficient to cope with the available social and economic security mechanisms. In Orissa and other southern parts of India, it is found that the NGO focuses on the sector-specific issues like livelihoods, community organization, community wealth creation.
But the non-involvement of NGOs to deal with natural or man-made disasters is a big question. It is now difficult to know whether an organization wants to work for a cause or has been set up only to obtain government grants. An Intelligence Bureau report alleged that NGOs are involved in activities that are harmful to the national interest, affect the public interest, or adversely affect the security, scientific, strategic, or economic interests of the country.
According to the IB report, many foreign aided NGOs are fueling separatism and Maoism in the country. A lot of money is going into the conversion, especially the work of converting tribals to Christianity. They are also accused that foreign powers use them as a proxy to destabilize India’s development path, such as protests by nuclear power plants and NGOs against mining operations. But still, we cannot ignore some of the spectacular work done by some NGOs during this Covid-19 crisis.
Like Akshaya Patra Foundation headquartered in Bengaluru. Since the Covid-19 crisis, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has stepped up to provide relief by providing food to thousands of people across the country, in close coordination with state governments and district administration. The Pune-based Kashtakari Panchayat (NGO) has organized a fundraiser to support around 7,000 workers in Pune. During this tragic time of the Corona period, there have been reports about such NGO that it is trying to prove its selfishness, exploitation and earning in the name of service, it is very important to keep a close watch on such NGOs across the country.
We believe and the government is not a hindrance to anyone’s work. But NGOs should do their work with honesty, transparency, and service-mindedness. If these organizations have worked then the country should also come before the society and they should also get encouragement. With the initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs, when the NGOs report their activities to the government, it should be assessed whether they have done service and human welfare work in the corona infection or whether they have filled their pockets and made headlines by taking photographs.
As we know that natural or man-made disasters prevail over the unfavorable conditions of mankind. Therefore, the role of NGOs seems inevitable when we want to deal with natural or man-made disasters, but it must be ensured that the NGO is in line with the objective and not against it, so that help and relief can reach the last person. Government and non-governmental organizations should act as partners and play a complementary role to achieve common goals. This is based on the basic principle of mutual trust and respect and has a shared responsibility and authority.
(Dr. Satyavan Saurabh is a research scholar, poet, independent journalist and columnist. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com)