NEW DELHI: Grassroots organisations attached to Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), an apex body of NGOs, appealed to President Ram Nath Kovind not to sign the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, and send it back for a parliamentary committee consultation.
The Bill was approved by Parliament this week. The activists said civil society organisations should have been consulted. Amid the pandemic, these NGOs have worked collaboratively to provide relief to the marginalised populations. The Bill would negate such efforts, they argued.
The NGOs also questioned the rationale behind carrying out the amendments in a ‘rushed’ manner. “This will impact the work of grassroots organisations working in the remote areas. The sector has worked diligently to serve all our citizens but it is coming under scrutiny. All those organisations that have been doing outstanding work and adhering to the rules are now being punished for no reason,” said Harsh Jaitli, CEO, VANI.
Ingrid Srinath, Director, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University, observed, “The amendment is not only atrociously ill-timed as civil society is having to cope with and respond to multiple crises, but is also against international law. It appears not to understand the scope and nature of NGO roles.” NGOs create development models and pave the way for changes, pointed out Ranchi-based A K Singh from LEADS.