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

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.