A high-power committee appointed by the Central government on the orders of the Supreme Court has recommended several steps to ensure the light regulation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so as to reduce their harassment.
Several have been complaining of undue or targeted harassment by the government under the IT Act and FCRA.
- The registration procedures be modernized so as to facilitate the seamless operation of the applicable provisions of the IT (Income Tax) Act and FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) with respect to NGOs, without the need for cumbersome and intrusive processes.
- Steps must be taken to reduce the need for a physical interface between NGOs and public officials acting under the IT Act and the FCRA, along with reduction in mutual distrust and scope for misuse.
- The committee has drawn up a framework of guidelines for the accreditation of NGOs, audit of their accounts, and procedures to initiate action for recovering grants in case of misappropriation.
- A nodal body to oversee the various interfaces between NGOs and the government, and has recommended that NITI Aayog be vested with the power.
- Separate law for voluntary agencies engaged in activities of a charitable or public good nature to enable more effective and efficient regulation of the sector.
- Recommended an overarching legislation with best practices that would replace various State-level and existing Central laws. Details of NGOs should be available as searchable database information.
The committee, headed by S. Vijay Kumar, a former Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development, was formed as part of the Centre’s response to the ongoing writ petition filed by Manohar Lal Sharma.
Source : The Hindu
GS II : Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders