- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was accused of vaccine fraud in recent times. This called into question all their other laudable work in the areas such as aid to regions beset by natural disasters, the global fight against HIV/AIDS, Polio eradication and so on. This also focuses attention on the activities of other NGOs in the country.
- We tend to think of Indian NGOs doing voluntary work with altruistic motives such as promoting public health, saving the environment and endangered species; filling the gaps left by government inaction or the paucity of resources. However from we often have cause to question the functioning of these non government organisations, in the way that these non-profits utilise donated funds, promote their own agendas and remain unaccountable their activities.
- There are an estimated 3.3 million NGOs in India, the largest number of non-profit organisations in the world. That means there is one NGO per 400 Indians – this is more than the number of primacy health care centres and schools in the country. (Source – Indian Express)
- An estimated $8 billion and $16 billion are raised each year by NGOs in India; however there have been several instances of unscrupulous NGOs appropriating funds for their own use and even perpetrating scams under the guise of performing public services. There is the apprehension that about half of the money raised may be misused. Overspending on overheads and administrative costs (administrators paying their own salaries) is a frequently leveled accusation.
- Some years ago there was the case of Action Aid India writing forged letters to sponsors all over the world. Ravi Nair and his NGO, the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre was indicted by the European anti fraud agency on charges of money laundering and fund misappropriation. (Source – Time)
- NRI billionaire entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava, recently pledged Rs 500 crore for a redevelopment project in Uttarakhand over a period of 6 years. Settled in the US, Bhargava is one of the richest Indians in the country and a known philanthropist who has earlier donated over 300 crores to various organisation for different causes relating to sanitation, employment, education and so on. (Source – Economic Times)
- One does wonder what happens to all the money NGOs get, considering that the Delhi High Court recently pronounced that 99% Indian NGOs are “fraud”, “money making devices“.
- The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) had conducted a study which raised huge questions about transparency. It revealed that about 97% of NGOs had not furnished the utilisation certificates to indicate the reason why they had received government grants; grants thought to be in the region of about Rs.6,654.36 crore. It was found that about 15 to 20%of the grant money was spent on getting the proposal “processed” (a euphemism for handing out bribes). There is no accountability, no follow up, practically no investigation into fund misappropriation and certainly no punishment meted out. (Source – Frontline)
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