NGOs under ministry scanner

          NOTWITHSTANDING the official record of 828 NGOs operating in Manipur, out of the country’s total of 60,000, the tiny state lagging behind in varied aspects suggests that many of them have not been dispensing their responsibilities in the right earnest. It is widely accepted that development of a state depends not only on the functioning of the government, but also on the sincerity and efficiency of a number of NGOs, which enjoy funds from not only the state and the central governments but also from various other sources, including foreign countries. Taking into account of the overall infelicitous socio-economic status of Manipur compared to the existence of large number of registered NGOs, it tells tale about majority of them not functioning efficiently, as they are supposed to. One of the factors for a handful of NGOs complying with the guidelines of the funding agency or the governments, and the rest even failing to utilise the funds, might be ineffectiveness of the mechanism for proper monitoring and evaluation by the agencies which are entrusted to scrutinise activities of the NGOs at the ground level. Reasons may vary for NGOs in other states managing to evade punitive measures despite flouting the guidelines, but in the context of Manipur lack of proper verification which is normally done at the time of registration at the behest of influential persons seems to be the root cause for the unreliability quotient against the NGOs operating here.

           However, existence of bogus NGOs in the country, including Manipur, might be a thing of the past in case the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of rural development are implemented in the right spirit. Based on a report that many NGOs, which receive funds from the government, do not maintain their accounts properly, the ministry on Wednesday mooted the need for identifying NGOs misusing funds, blacklisting them and initiate criminal actions, with the aim of ensuring transparency and autonomy of NGOs. Another significant facet of the ministry’s proposal is the emphasis on NITI Aayog donning the role of the nodal agency for NGOs, maintain a database of all NGOs which apply for official grants and track their use and provide them unique identities to enable the public scrutinise their records. As the proposed rules aims to ensure seamless tracking of all works done and make it mandatory for the NGOs to comply with regulatory guidelines, it could be safely concluded that days of the bogus NGOs are numbered. As the role of NGOs in spurring economic and social reformation of the society are enormous, all ambiguous regulatory norms on their functioning need to be rectified so that the public money channelled to these NGOs are assumed as funds to amass wealth of the NGO administrators. In case NGOs operate diligently, then they have the potential to generate employment opportunities for thousands of qualified Manipuri youths. It is also believed that the magnitude of funds the NGOs handle at any point of time is an index of economic growth of the country or states.

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