Smash the NGO Money-Siphoning RacketThere is no doubt that NGOs perform a vital task in society. They reach out and address problems of marginalized sections of society. They work in areas where governmental agencies have no interest. But it is also true that some NGOs are driven by agendas. It is also true that many (and the percentage is increasing everyday) NGOs are working as vehicles of corruption siphoning out money meant for the poor and the marginalized.
By Sunil Garodia
The figures stated by the Supreme Court are damning. Of the over 30 lakh registered NGOs in India, only about 3 lakh or less than 10% have submitted audited accounts for verification. What is even more damning is that no government has ever thought it fit to pull up the rest. Despite doling out enormous sums of money as grants, the government has not kept tabs whether it reached the intended beneficiaries or most of it was siphoned out either in form of fancy salaries and perks to those running the show or in form of cooked up tenders for supplies that were never purchased and distributed.
The court has rightly pulled up the government for being so careless with public money. The huge gap in those not submitting audited accounts shows that NGOs have now become a money spinning venture for the unscrupulous. Earlier, those fired with an urge to do something for society used to put in time and money to do social service by starting an NGO. Now, people scout government websites to find out how much grant is being issued under which welfare scheme. Only then do they start an NGO in that field. The idea is to make money at the expense of the poor and the marginalized.
There are several laws and rules governing NGOs. Only those NGOs that adhere to these rules are entitled to receive government doles. But corrupt officers who take a cut are known to bend the rules and fund these NGOs. If the government does not enforce the rules properly and if the audited accounts are not demanded and verified, public money will continue to fill the pockets of vested interests instead of being used for the poor. The NGO racket needs to be smashed and only those who genuinely work for the poor need to be supported.