Skip to main content

Second wave: 92% NGOs faced funds crunch even as Niti Aayog sought civil society help


By Rajiv Shah 

A new civil society report “Civil Society Support to Covid-19 Affected Families: Outreach and Resourcing in the Second Wave” has wondered why, despite the Government of India think-tank NITI Aayog soliciting support from civil society organisations (CSOs) for fighting the pandemic, “financial and legal regulatory frameworks” constricted access to resources, especially by small and medium size organisations, during the second wave.
Prepared last month and published by five high profile NGOs – Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Unnati, Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD), Samarthan and Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra – the report asks, “Is it fair to ignore the constraints imposed by the public laws and policies on the CSOs and still expect them to deliver public good at the time of crises?”
Based on a survey of 583 respondents working with 577 CSOs – big, medium and small – the report, authored by by Kaustuv Kanti Bandyopadhyay, Muskan Chawla, S Ram Aravind and Yashvi Sharma, insists, the resource crunch “is something to be pondered by all who could have made a difference with their resource and policies – the government, the international donors, philanthropists of all origins and corporate social responsibility programmes.”
“Is it good enough to find and fund a few largest CSOs with impressive individual outreach or better to work with several small ones to reach out to the farthest and hard to reach communities with similar impressive outreach?”, the report queries.
Underlining that that “the humongous impact of the pandemic on the community required a concerted action of the government, private sector and civil society”, the report says, “However, a lot had changed in the resource and operating environment in which the CSOs were operating at a time when the second wave of pandemic occurred.”
Thus, it says, “The amendments to Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act, 2020 had barred the CSOs to re-grant foreign resources to other organisations. It had a colossal effect on the small and medium size organisations which often accessed resources from bigger organisations who were in direct interface with the donors.”
“The biggest challenge faced by 92 percent of the total respondent CSOs was unavailability of financial resources”, the report regrets, pointing out, “Majority of the organizations (78%) reported lack of donor support or flexibility as major constraint.” It adds, “The financial crunch curtailed their operations.”
Revealing how during the second wave of pandemic, the CSOs found themselves struggling with resources, the report says, a large number of the organisations (42 percent) had to use their own resources to engage in relief and community support activities, while 40 percent respondent CSOs were unable to raise any new resources to support this work.
Further, only 7 percent CSOs managed to receive Indian corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding for pandemic disaster alleviation during the second wave, 6 percent CSOs reported that they mobilised resources from the local community. As for foreign donor contribution, both individual and organisational, assistance from Indian diaspora, and other sources, this “accounted for a meagre (6%) portion of resources raised for purpose of relief.”
Despite lack of resources, which “affected the small and medium size CSOs the most”, the report claims, “Their ability to reach out to the needy families has been commendable” Thus, calculations by the authors suggest, “48,18,761 families have received support from the respondent CSOs”, all of whom “mainly provided food, personal hygiene materials and medical supplies to the needy families.”
The report says, even though most CSOs are “under-staffed, under-resourced, under-protected”, they were immersed in the community. It adds, “More than 200 CSOs had reported health issues among staff due to contraction of virus and more than 50 had reported occurrence of death among staff. However, this did not deter them from continuing community service.”
“The number of families supported by each CSO varies according the existing coverage, capacities and availability resources”, the report says, adding, “Nearly half of the respondent CSOs (44 percent) were able to support 100 to 1,000 families. A little more than one quarter of respondent CSO individually were able to support 1000 to 5,000 families. A few CSOs (6 percent) were able to reach out and provide support to more than 10,000 families.”
Apart from resource crunch, the report says, the challenges the NGOs faced included coordination with panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), municipalities, block and district administrations. Thus, “Nearly one-third of the respondent CSOs also mentioned about lack of cooperation.”
The report reveals, approximately two-third of the CSOs (66 percent) have annual budget less than Rs 1 crore , indicating that these are smaller grassroots organisations. Only one-fifth of the respondent CSOs have annual budget of more than Rs 1 crore and another one-fifth with more than 5 crore. A few CSOs have annual budget of more than 5 crore.
The report says, despite enormity of the crisis, “The CSOs with almost no additional support stood steadily with the community and made available the basic necessities. This ranges from food, medical supplies, personal hygiene materials, emotional support, cash support and crucial and authentic information relevant to the affected community.”
It adds, “The value addition of CSOs was more than spectacular because of their consistent commitments and proximity to the communities. One could imagine, had they been equipped with more resources, a larger number of distressed families could have received essential support.”

Comments

Uma said…
The government sees NGOs as a threat and has harassed them in the past also. Most NGOs use the donations they get, domestic or foreign, honestly and judiciously; because of a few rogues all should not be painted black.

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

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.

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".

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

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.

Nehru legacy? GDP-centric growth has had 'no positive impact' on people's livelihood

By Dr Kamal Nayan Kabra*  Experience has shown that many counties adopt measures to go in for the growth of their GDP, basically in the existing framework, though also going in for, at the same time, new products and technologies and similar other changes. It is believed that by means of this process enough new job opportunities would emerge to meet the economy’s needs both in terms of numbers as also in terms of the requisite remuneration (wages) as also the supplies of the goods and services to maintain the economy on an even keel.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Conceived as infrastructure, western approach 'not fit' for building Indian cities

By Arjun Kumar* A recent webinar on Rethinking the City, organized by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) at the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, even as stating that Western concept of city cannot be applied on India, insisted, urban areas were conceived as infrastructure, disregarding the actual inhabitants who live in there. Those who participated in the webinar included Prof Pithamber Rao Polsani, Faculty and Dean, School of Advanced Studies and Research, Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design & Technology, and Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla and Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI. The session was initiated by Tikender Singh Panwar providing the context on the current state of city planning in India. He emphasized the need for more sustainable models in order improved urban habitation. Prof Pithamber Rao Polsani focused on two important factors that force us to rethink the city as a construct and a space of habita

As Afghan economy crumbles, West working out emergency plans for 'cash airlifts'

By MK Bhadrakumar*  The Taliban is getting many suitors lately. It is far from the “pariah” that the Biden Administration thought it was destined to be. During the past month alone, the Taliban received six suitors from the region and beyond offering courtship – the foreign minister of Qatar; the special envoys of Russia, China and Pakistan; the High representative of UK Prime Minister; and the foreign minister of Uzbekistan who visited Kabul on Thursday.