The Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal affairs, chaired by Ms.Sumithra Mahajan met on 04-Feb at the Parliament House annexe in New Delhi and discussed the various issues confronting the NGOs in implementing different schemes funded by these ministries. Out of the total of 10 NGOs invited from across India, 8 represented the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and 2 that of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Seva Bharati and Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement were the only two NGOs from across India to air the views of the NGOs working in the area of tribal development in partnership with the Government of India.
Dr.R.Balu represented SVYM in this meeting, which was a very good advocacy opportunity to communicate to the policy makers different perspectives and issues. The following are some of the key issues that he raised:
- Continue and further streamline the concept of Established Voluntary Associations (EVAs).
- Link the grant-in-aid to the inflationary index or bring in time bound review of the budgets (once in 3-5 years)
- Make the salaries of professionals more market based.
- Start schemes for tribals for providing support to start pre-univ courses and colleges.
- Have separate schemes for Forest based tribals
- Enforce a time bound recommendation process on the state governments to send in their inspection reports etc.
- Revert back to the old process of giving the first installment in June and then the second installment in November after due processing and receipt of UCs (Utilization Certificates) and inspection reports from the state.
- Start a web-based information and monitoring system. NGOs should be able to upload all key documents and reports onto the same instead of relying on sending it by post.
- NGOs receiving grant-in-aid should not represent on the state recommendation committee for scrutiny and recommendation of proposals.
- The process of permitting 10% re-appropriation should be followed both in letter and spirit and should be administratively enforceable.
- Start a NGO facilitation center in the ministry which is easily accessible to the NGOs
- NGOs getting grant-in-aid for more than 10 years should be moved from the ‘Plan’ to the ‘Non-Plan’ category of the budget process.
- NGOs should not be asked for the same documentation and paperwork year after year. Instead the GOI should have a ready repository where this info is stored and accessed by it whenever the Ministry wants the same.