Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Government policies and international voluntary sector

VOLUNTARY SOCIAL work, voluntarism, voluntary organisations, non governmental organisations (NGOs) not profit making organizations, religion based social development organisations, individual donors, philanthropy and corporate social development organisations have grown tremendously in the 21st century.

Similarly international developmental organisation like the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), Department Fund for International Development (DFID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), United Nations Economic, Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) and many other organisations are relentlessly campaigning for the cause of the social development.

Under United Nations systems several international conventions are being held, several laws are being promoted, several policies are being evolved and several projects are being implemented in various areas like the human rights, education, health, natural resources, development and environment.

The government of India and many governments of various nations of the world like South Africa, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Uganda, Zambia and Mexico have enacted several laws, established various government departments, evolved policies, and created schemes for the cause of social development.

Though social development has emerged as a very important sector in 21st century there are no institutionalised mechanisms of collaboration of the government and the NGOs. The need of the hour is to evolve long term, sustainable and institutionalised collaboration between the government and NGOs.

The government of India has prepared and released a draft national policy on NGOs, incorporating the areas of collaboration of the government and NGOs. The Planning Commission of India and various ministries of the government of India are working on the modalities of collaboration between the government and the NGOs.

Similarly the government of Andhra Pradesh on an innovative approach given by us has formed a state level coordination committee of government officials and NGOs headed by the chief minister for promoting the coordination between the government and the NGOs. On the same lines district level coordination cells have been formed headed by the district in-charge ministers with collectors, officials and NGOs as members. Government orders are issued for frequent meeting of the committees and evolving the mechanisms of collaboration between the government and the NGOs. (GOMS No 28 of government of AP enclosed)

There is imminent need for the government of India and various state governments to release the national policy as well as the state policies for institutionalised mechanisms of collaboration between the government and the NGOs, on the lines of the National Policy of the government of India.

The government of India is promoting the work, projects and involvement of NGOs in a big way. The Union Ministry of Rural Development has established Council for Advancement of Peoples Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) and is promoting the NGO sector in a big way.

Rural Development Department in many schemes like the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP). Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Swarna Jayanti Swarajgor Yojana (SJSGY) National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Watershed Development and in many other schemes has elaborately issued guidelines, with specific reference to involvement of the NGOs in implementation of various schemes.

Rural development department through National Waste Lands Development Board have issued guidelines, focusing on the importance of participation of the people and involvement of NGOs in implementation of the schemes.

Similarly, several Ministries like Ministry of Human Resources Development, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Agriculture among others have issued guidelines for implementation of the schemes, with focus on peoples participation and participation of NGOs in implementation of thousands of schemes of the government of India.

On the same lines, various state governments have issued government orders and guidelines for people’s participation and participation of NGOs in implementation of various schemes.

The government of India through various ministries has been funding the NGOs to a tune of Rs. 10,000 corers per annum for implementation of various schemes. CAPART and various ministries have evolved schemes to be funded to the NGOs for implementation in various areas concerning human and social development of people. Similarly several schemes are also being funded in natural resources development and environment.

Various ministries of the government of India have evolved formats, prescribed procedures, and evolved inspection and monitoring mechanisms for effective implementation of the schemes being funded in the NGOs sector. All the details of grants in aid being sanctioned to the project of the NGOs are being made available on the websites of the respective ministries of the government of India.

Similarly World Bank, DFID and various funding agencies have also evolved mechanisms, procedures for inspection, assessment, sanction, monitoring and evaluation of grant in aid projects to the NGOs.

In addition to the above, International Development Agencies like Action Aid, Plan International, Oxfam, CCF, Leonard Chesire, CARE and several other international donor agencies have also evolved mechanisms and guidelines for assessment, sanction, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects which require grants in aid. They have also prescribed formats for donor service reporting and displaying on websites.

While the international scenario, and national scenarios are very encouraging all is not well in collaboration of the government and the NGOs in social development.

Some of the distortions and recent trends in a few states of India are to implement the projects of social development with-out any collaboration between the government and the NGOs. People’s participation and participatory development is a distant dream which is yet to be realized.

There is an urgent need to put an end to distortions in social development and evolving the institutionalised mechanisms of collaboration between the government and the NGOs and the people’s institutions. There is the malaise among some organisations to be excessively dependent on foreign aid. This can be somewhat offset if our business houses start contributing more to the voluntary sector than they do now. Some voluntary organisations also tend to be individual-centric with little internal democracy and sometimes transparency. Such organisations find it difficult to outlast their founder. There is also a need for greater cooperation among NGOs themselves. Together, they can achieve much more than if they choose to operate in their own small autonomous areas.

Source:http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=144440

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