Skip to main content

Govt apathy, funds crisis? 36% NGOs drop Covid relief, 54% plan to: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) survey of civil society organizations (CSOs) has complained that government indifference despite the “felt need” to continue with the relief work to the poorer sections society amidst Covid-19 crisis was a major reason why more than 36% of CSOs were forced to stop doing the work, while another 54% said they had plans to stop it in a month’s time.
Carried out by a group of researchers led by IIM-A faculty Prof Ankur Sarin, the survey report, "Voluntary Sector Response to Food Scarcity during Covid-19" cites “lack of resources” as the biggest challenge driving these organisations and individuals to stop their ongoing efforts, underlining, “This emerges against a backdrop of rising numbers of people relying on food relief activities of these CSOs. Almost 70% of respondents claimed that the number of people they have been serving increased over time.”
The surveyed CSOs work in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi (NCR), Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal. Among those involved in preparing the report included Prof Reetika Khera, well-known development economist. The survey period was between May 1 and 14.
The report says, on probing further into the reasons for suspending operations, only around 3% reported that they “did not feel” the need to continue, while 84% cited lack of funds as one of the reasons for their decision to stop their operations. It notes, “Most of them have relied on individual/public contributions and their own funds. However, they are unable to continue to shell out similar amounts.”
The report quotes a Samajik Shaikshanik Vikas Kendra (Bihar) activist as stating there were complications in “getting the permission” to mobilise funds, forcing the CSO to represented to Niti Aayog. The CSO plea says the foreign funded NGOs (i.e. Foreign Contribution Regulation Act-registered) should be “permitted" for hassle free movement to mobilise funds as well as supporting the people in this pandemic Covid-19.
According to the report, “Funding has been received by less than 4% of respondents while 8% have received raw materials free of cost from the government. Around 4% of CSOs have managed to obtain some supplies from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other government-affiliated bodies.” It comments, “Given that a majority of them have reported that the lack of funds/supplies is their biggest bottleneck, these figures are low.”
IIM-A survey says, funding has been received by less than 4% of CSOs; 8% have received raw materials free of cost from government
The report says, the dominant form of support that the government has lent to CSOs has been the arrangement of travel passes during curfew periods (around 44%). Other forms included transportation (11%), distribution (21%) and identification of beneficiaries (20%). Around 11% of respondents that stopped distribution reported that they had been stopped by the police and other authorities due to curfew orders.
The report, which is based on a survey of 113 CSOs and their representatives, says that a major reason why CSOs began with their initiative to help the poorer sections – 76% of whom were daily wage workers – was because of the “issues of access, availability and quality facing public distribution system (PDS) and other government efforts.”
The report says, “Organisations and individuals reported that the PDS provisions proved to be insufficient. Almost half the respondents reported that only some people have had access to their ration entitlements. About 20% stated that there have been large shortages of essentials and instances where supplies came in too late. More than 14% of respondents also emphasised on the poor quality of commodities available at ration shops.”
Comments the report, “With the implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in 2013, there was a need for all states to formulate their own eligibility criteria for granting ration cards and undertake identification exercises. However, till date, these eligibility criteria are not transparent and remain unclear.” In fact, “outdated data” led to “large exclusion errors” whereby people who are eligible and in need of subsidised food grains are excluded – which economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera estimate to be around 100 million.
“While the government has proposed to implement its One Nation One Ration Card across the country by March 2021, states may not be prepared to implement this immediately without a digitised beneficiary database and provisions for identity verification”, the report asserts, adding, “Stranded migrant workers can take advantage of this scheme only if their applications for ration cards are processed (and approved) promptly and urgently.”
The report quotes Udayan Care, an NGO as stating: “Huge issue to get government ration. We got rice from Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the quality was inhuman for consumption.”, while another NGO, Nirantar Trust said,"The PDS distributors were putting wrong quantities on the ration cards of tribal families and on complaining, SDM also didn't sound very promising of taking any action against them." 
The report says, while 56% of the surveyed respondents had prior history of working with the households that they were serving, 65% followed a door-to-door delivery system to get provisions to people in need, indicating they had last-mile access to people and households at a much finer level, which may be difficult for other government bodies to obtain. Around 24% of respondents followed a distribution model where people gather at a central location.

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w