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NGOs In India
[size="3"][url="http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/50562-remote-controlled-from-far-and-away.html"]Remote-controlled from far and away[/url]

Anuradha Dutt

Quote:Foreign influence pervades the Government and the NGOs that are dependant on external funds for their projects. Because of their money-power, foreign funding organisations command an influence in finalising the agenda of sovereign nations

Nothing could be funnier. After giving free play to foreign influence-peddlers, the Congress, the dominant component of the UPA Government, is back to blaming the ‘foreign hand’ for stirring trouble in the country, as it did during late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s time. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is enquiring into the activities of 10 NGOs, recipients of funds from outside, for inciting unrest.

The focus of the ruling dispensation’s animus are said to be Gandhian Anna Hazare and his team and other civil rights groups that, since early this year, have been campaigning against corruption or on other emotive issues.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal had debunked team Anna, while Gandhi family loyalist Digvijay Singh had blamed the RSS for the Baba Ramdev-led campaign to get back black money from secret bank accounts abroad — as if such a demand was anti-national. But, anxiety over being dislodged from office rather than concern for the nation seemed to prompt such diatribe.

In the present instance, investigators are reported to have honed in on Denmark as the provider of funds to NGOs that mask their diabolical intent behind civil liberties and anti-corruption rhetoric. While there is no reason to doubt that these organisations take their cue from whoever funds them, the UPA regime has woken up to the perils of unfettered foreign influence-peddling rather late.

Apparently, the Indian Ambassador to Denmark has reported that the new Minister for Development Cooperation plans to deploy Danish Government aid for development “as a tool to generate popular unrest in recipient countries”. Actually, Indian officials should be ashamed that it took them so long to concede the truth about aid money, whether it comes from the US, UK or some other donor-nation. There are no free meals, ever.

Graham Hancock’s path-breaking 1989 expose, Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business, bared the truth about the vicious cycle of international aid/funding and consequent dependency and indebtedness of emerging nations. It ensures that poverty is never dispelled though billions of dollars are ostensibly poured into the charade of dispelling it. A sinister spin-off is insurgency, rebellion and regime changes at the behest of alien forces.

Our policy-makers and leaders, intellectuals and civil activists/professional do-gooders need to acknowledge publicly the deadly machinations underlying aid and much of the foreign-funding. But the ruling coalition and its advisors will never do so as their game will be exposed.

For years, the Congress and its allies have genuflected to ‘foreign’ influence-peddlers, be it the Washington-based World Bank-International Monetary Fund combine, the European Union or other entities based in the West, that, after the British withdrawal from India in August 1947 — and liberation of most erstwhile colonies from the Western yoke — pursue an imperialist agenda via proxy rulers.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a few of his close advisors from World Bank-IMF-allied backgrounds in particular are seen as visibly pushing that agenda, reportedly foisted on sovereign nations by global banks and inconceivably powerful business cartels. The end result would be to keep people and countries in a state of perpetual bondage, just as colonialism did.

Aggressive free-market policies and the freedom enjoyed by banks, lending agencies and corporations ensure that most people remain impoverished or in debt as the bottom line is ‘profits’ for players. Government regulation, therefore, is being pruned down, with most people crushed by debt and want. That is what anti-Wall Street protesters and their ilk are demonstrating against.

The absurdity of a section of the ruling coalition accusing the foreign hand of stirring the cauldron of unrest is all the more evident. The Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council, a parallel and unconstitutional decision-making body, is crammed with civil activists, some of whom are recipients of foreign largesse and awards, bestowed by the very power and money cabal mentioned above, just as team Anna is apparently dominated by such individuals.

Funding and laurels are clearly an effective means to win friends and influence people, who, in turn, can be relied upon to help shape Government policies, and even subvert sovereignty by tinkering with the Constitution and laws.

The Union Home Ministry cites the example of the Right to Food Campaign — a showpiece of the UPA’s social justice plank — with Danish Minister Christian Friis Bach reportedly stating that a civil society group should sue our Government on the grounds that 400 million people did not have access to adequate food, though the Constitution guaranteed it as a fundamental right.

The Union Ministry needs to ask, who brought about this dismal state of affairs? The answer stares it in the face: Congress, which has ruled for the longest time and its allies. The disintegration of the former Soviet Union should serve to warn us about the outcome of uncurbed foreign influence-peddling.

Prior to its break up, thousands of foreign-funded NGOs, propagating openness and freedom and campaigning on all kinds of issues, mushroomed in the USSR. Nobel laureates, politicos, scientists, writers, artists, dancers — dissidents, feted by Western countries — joined the movement that led to its dissolution.

Here, Binayak Sen, jailed in Chhattisgarh for being anti-national, was released on bail reportedly under European Union’s pressure, and inducted into the Planning Commission’s panel on health. Many India-baiters are not part of Government but command the media’s and establishment’s respect because the West recognises them. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs.
[size="3"]Baba Ramdev educating people about NGOs, foreign funding and prizes funded by them:[/size]


It is good to see him doing so. Common man otherwise does not have access to internet and BR must be commended for his candid speak. There are not many who would speak on this matter with such openness; that too in public.
[url="http://freepressjournal.in/news/45679-foreign-funding-of-ngos-should-stop.html"]Foreign funding of NGOs should stop[/url]


Quote:Two important criteria for NGOs are that they should be independent from government and they are organizations not meant for making profit. But many get money from the government or from foreign governments.

The type of activities they are involved is mind- boggling which can extent from " aging issues" to " corruption" to " human rights" to " waste management". Many of them call themselves " Civil Society" and involve in socio- political activities even though they do not directly participate in the electoral process. Many of Church- related organizations involve themselves in human rights issues as a civil society organization.

They are also active in conversion or what is called harvesting of souls.

The funding for many of these civil society groups is substantially international.

The international flow of funds is regulated by the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act ( FCRA Act) of the Central Government on which the ministry of home affairs has formulated rules in April 2011 onwards.

In the nine years from 2001 to 2010 such organizations received more than Rs 70,000 crore and in 2009- 10 ( for which latest data is available) it was Rs 10,400 crore. The total number of such organizations was 38,500 in 2009- 10 and of them only 21,500 ( 55%) reported their accounts.

The list of donor countries is headed by the US ( Rs 3,105 crore) followed by Germany ( Rs 1, 046 crore) and the UK ( Rs 1, 039crore).

The highest amount of foreign contribution was received and utilized for establishment expenses ( Rs 1,483 crore), followed by rural development ( Rs 944 crore) etc. Establishment expenses consist of buying land, buildings, jeeps, setting up offices, mobiles, laptops, cameras, salaries, consultancy fees, honorarium, and foreign travel etc, constituting nearly 50% of the expenses and in some cases as high as 70%. This goes against the grain of service motto where the ultimate recipient is supposed to get the maximum. Now, such organizations even recruit " executives" from management institutions.

However, they are not covered by Right to Information Act as they are not part of government. Many do not have any information on their web sites. Some of the web sites contain nothing on finances.

They demand transparency from others.

World Vision of Tamil Nadu is one organization which has got maximum foreign funds Rs 209 crore in the last year alone. If you consider last five years it has got nearly Rs 1,000 crore. In the US, this organization employs only Christians and the US Supreme Court has upheld this. Its parent says that " More than 80 percent of staff members worldwide are Christians. In each of the 100 countries where World Vision works our leadership is Christian". World Vision is a sectarian Christian organization which says " maintaining Christian identity is critical for the staff. " It is supposed to clarify in every communication about their Christian identity but hardly done in India. Why such sectarian organizations allowed to flourish using foreign funds? The primary purpose of most of these sectarian organizations is conversion or harvesting the soul. This has given rise to social tensions in several parts of India.

That there are other issues pertaining to illegal flows. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report - Money Laundering and Financial Crimes ( March 2009) - by the US State Department suggests that 30- 40 per cent of the inflows may be through hawala channels which are not accounted. During 2007- 2008, according to this report, formal inflows into India were $ 42.6 billion.

So 40 per cent of this amount, $ 16- 18 billion, could be considered illegal flows not captured by law. Recently the Government included NGOs and other trusts also within the ambit of Prevention of Money Laundering Act ( PMLA) 2002, by a notification. But we do not find any known action so far against NGOs under the PMLA. Not only that due to the foreign funding the issues taken up are as per masters choice. Suddenly Gates Foundation finds HIV as the issue in our country while we are still battling TB and leprosy and malaria. Agenda- driven funding undermines our priorities and perspectives.

Recently Russia has approved a bill that introduces stringent control over the activities of foreign funded non- government and non- commercial organizations in a move designed to pre- empt any " coloured revolution" in the country.

It says, and to quote " The Kremlin has learnt its lessons from a string of " coloured revolutions" in the former Soviet Republics - the " rose revolution in Georgia, the " orange revolution" in Ukraine and the " tulip revolution" in Kyrgyzstan - all inspired and orchestrated by western- funded civil society groups". Incidentally, there is an act in the US called Foreign Agents Registration Act ( FARA) and it provides for penalties up to ten years in jail for acting as a foreign agent or getting foreign funds without notification to the Attorney General.

FARA was originally passed in 1938 to prevent the spread of Nazi ideas and propaganda.

It is important that the Government of India bans foreign funding of civil society groups and NGOs who want to reform India. For this, the Government should scrap the FCRA act and also the rules.

Let NGOs and other missionary activities take place using local charity. We are no more the " white mans burden".

The author is professor of Finance and Control, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

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