Skip to main content

COVID-19: Despite Niti Aayog directions, Gujarat govt 'reluctant' to involve NGOs

By Rajiv Shah
 A top Gujarat-based non-government organization (NGO) has regretted that despite clear directions from the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Niti Aayog, which is a Government of India think tank, and a subsequent letter from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), regarding importance and role of NGOs during the COVID-19 crisis, “there seems to be reluctance on the part of the State of Gujarat to collaborate with NGOs.”
A detailed letter, written by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Ahmedabad, and signed by its director Gagan Sethi, insisting on the need to take NGO support in every possible way, says, this is particularly needed in order to implement of the schemes for providing food grains to the needy during the lockdown period “to prevent the further spread of the pandemic.”
Even as appreciating Niti Ayog and NDMA effort involve NGOs, the letter wants “a better-thought-out" strategy is needed for "effective involvement". It says, instead of individual negotiation with NGOs, an open call for collaboration needs to be made, particularly the current situation requires urgent measures.
The letter comes close on the heels of a Ministry of Home Affairs asking nonprofits that have a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence to send them information on their COVID-19 related activities by April 15, 2020; and “to do so every month thereafter as well.” This order follows an MHA announcement earlier lauding the work of civil society organisations requesting them to help the government provide support to all those affected by the pandemic. 
Pointing towards areas where NGOs can help, the letter says, the assumption that migrants have reached their homes is just not true, adding, many are still in transit or stuck at their work places. The situation requires local sarpanch, police and the labour department to collaborate with NGOs to identify them and ensure their well-being. A systematic tracking through social media, news reports etc. with NGO help could be put in place for those stuck.
There is lack of clarity on whether payments under NREGA is to be made against the work done, as also the type of work to be given
“In our experience, food is being provided by NGOs to migrants”, the letter says, pointing out, this is happening because  "there is no clarity as to what the migrants are entitled to from the state." It adds, "Clarity at all levels is needed in this regard. Also, an information kit should be given to the migrants when they are identified and registration of their names.”
In fact, NGO volunteers can help compile “a list of workers registered under various laws like the Unorganized Workers Act 2008, the Migrant Workers Act, the Construction Workers’ Act, Contract Labourers’ Act etc. in order to facilitate their claims", asserts the letter. 
GSDMA CEO Anuradha Mall, CSJ director Gagan Sethi
The letter laments, as of today, there is lack of clarity regarding the entitlements where there is a central as well as a state scheme with respect to the provision of benefits to several of the needy sections. Noting that one such section is fisherfolk, spread across Gujarat’s coast, which is 20% of the country's, it regards, it is not clear what amount of money they should be given, as there is no scheme or government resolution (GR) for them.
Then, it says, there is also lack of clarity regarding whether payments under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is to be made against the work done, and if so what kind of work would be taken from them under the present lockdown conditions, especially when there is a “high demand for sanitizers and masks” needed for the work to be undertaken under NREGA.
“Given the situation, work may not be a feasible option”, the letter empasises, adding, “Hence it is proposed that unemployment allowance be given in such cases.” At the same time, there should be a service camp under the legal services authority with NGO help in order to help urgently resolve previous payment related issues, job card discrepancies etc.
Other areas where NGOs can be of help include setting up quarantine facilities at village level primary schools, community centres etc., provision of food to school going children, widow pension, regularizing availability of vegetables, monitoring of fair price shops, helping forest dwellers get proper price for their produce, smooth functioning of primary health centres, and so on.
---
Click HERE to read full letter

Comments

Unknown said…
A nice suggestion to entrust some services to some selected NGOs in this crical time of lock down to curb some evil activities like hoarding commodities before they reach to the needy people. Some selfless organisations can work with 100% results relieving government machinery from extra burden.
Uma said…
If NGOs do the work there is nothing to boast about at the next election campaign; and no way of filling pockets.
Annika said…
Nice informative Article

Thank you very much.


Annika

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.