NGOs Shrink After Panel Set-Up

IMPHAL, Feb 3: A number of non-governmental organizations working in diverse fields have been invalidated as well as disappeared after the State Level Committee, set up to monitor activities of these NGOs and voluntary organizations (VOs) reportedly detected anomalies in the functioning and financial management.

Recounting that the Committee, with the Chief Secretary as chairman was constituted on October 22, 2004 specifically to monitor activities of NGOs and VOs, an informed source said the Committee during its course of enquiry discovered misuse and diversion of funds consequently resulting in blacklisting of many NGOs/VOs.

Swinging into action promptly the Committee issued specific guidelines after which NGOs/VOs proposed by ‘line departments’ were/are scrutinized with regard to whether the bodies conform to conditions laid down by the Planning Department.

Those NGOs and VOs that conform to the Planning Department guidelines are then forwarded to the Committee headed by the Chief Secretary and the panel after minutely examining the proposals send it/them to the ‘Line Department’ whose responsibility is to ensure the proposal land at the table of the Planning Commission.

Only after approval by the Planning Commission, proposals of the NGOs/VOs are recommended to the Ministry concerned of the Union Government for sanction of the project or fund allocation, the source detailed.

Even though the State’s Planning Department could not prevent or hold back the project approval and fund allocation once the Union Ministry concerned has cleared the sanction, the source maintained that the Planning Department comes into the picture at the time of second phase allocation, if any.

Explaining that fund provision between the Minis– try and NGOs/VOs have no room for intervention by a third party, the source informed that before the second phase fund allocation, the NGOs/VOs are required to submit utilization certificate, furnish documents in support of completion of police verification and checking of balance sheet in addition to examination by the Planning Department on whether the NGOs/VOs had worked as per conditions set by the Department.

Disclosing that as a consequence of such an intensive process representatives of many NGOs/VOs who claimed to have been working in diverse fields in the State ceased to operate after the first phase project or fund allocation as anomalies were discovered by the State Level Committee as well as investigation by the Planning Department.

It is also informed that after the setting up of the Committee, number of NGOs/VOs in the State has diminished to nearly 50 percent prior to constitution of the Committee as consequent assessment of their activities led to detection of various anomalies and fictitious existence.

The source further asserted that before setting of the Committee number of NGOs were insurmountable and difficult to assess their contribution to the society as most of these NGOs and VOs were found to have been established or had the blessing of Ministers or MLAs.

Taking advantage of the situation particularly pressure tactics and influence from Ministers and MLAs, even banned outfits started to joined the melee through fictitious NGOs thus making the Central Government suspect role and activities of NGOs/VOs operating in Manipur, confided the source while adding that to ensure welfare funds are not misused or diverted to UG groups the Centre strongly recommended setting of the Committee with the Chief Secretary as the Chairman.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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