News of NGOs, NGO News, Social News

Chennai-based NGO to conduct essay competition on prohibition – Times of India

Chennai-based NGO to conduct essay competition on prohibitionTimes of IndiaCHENAI: Chennai-based NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived is conducting an essay competition for college students on the topic "Is Rajaji's advocacy of prohibition feasible in Tamil Nadu in today's condition?" The essay, with a maximum of 1,500 words, …and more »
Source: Google NGO News

Australian NGO Food Ladder launches Food Security plan for India – Business Standard

Australian NGO Food Ladder launches Food Security plan for IndiaBusiness StandardAward-winning Australian NGO Food Ladder has received coveted Direct Aid Program (DAP) funding from the Australian High Commission to enable the extensive role out of its custom designed hydroponic greenhouse systems to address food security and …and more »
Source: Google NGO News

Kenya NGO Struggle Continues At ICC –

The StarKenya NGO Struggle Continues At ICCAllAfrica.comKenya is high on the agenda of the meeting of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, and NGOs and the Kenyan government are openly battling it out. "It's a war", said one African NGO representative. That might be a slight exaggeration of exactly …Let's Classify NGOs As Foreign AgentsThe Starall 18 news articles »
Source: Google NGO News

Not enough shelters for battered women, NGO reports – The Times of Israel

The Times of IsraelNot enough shelters for battered women, NGO reportsThe Times of IsraelThere are currently 14 shelters for battered women in Israel, No to Violence said in its report, and the number of women rejected due to lack of space throughout the country exceeds 1,000. The NGO compared the number of shelters in Israel, relative to …
Source: Google NGO News

Kuwaiti man fosters social engagement through NGO work – The National

The NationalKuwaiti man fosters social engagement through NGO workThe NationalTo this end, he founded the NGO en.v in 2008. That was two years after he had set up the branding company El Boutique Creative Group and realised he wanted to have a more direct influence on society than simply “creating content for consumption”.
Source: Google NGO News

RTI is a weapon for citizen facing arbitrary power, needs to be protected, taken further.

Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey
(Social activists and founder members of the NCPRI)

Today, India celebrates 10 years of the practice of the right to information. In this decade, this law, one critical to Indian democracy, has established the citizen’s right to make informed choices, not just once every five years, but every single day. Governments at the Central and state levels have been forced to concede to the democratic principle of sharing power. An estimated five to eight million applications are filed every year, making it clear how popular the law is. The more than 45 RTI users who have been killed bear testimony to just how much the act threatens vested interests. In posterity, those studying governance in independent India will be able to mark the patterns of a pre- and post-RTI era. It is, therefore, important to understand the immense contribution of the ordinary Indians who battled for years to get the entitlement and, since 2005, to implement the law.

Powerful and relevant local struggles can organically grow into national movements that enrich democratic practice. The demand for information was brilliant in its simplicity. People honed it locally on the nerve centers of unaccountable power. These demands for details of expenditures on roads, of life-saving medicines in hospitals, of disappearing rations, sent shockwaves through the establishment and shook the foundation of bureaucratic governance. The RTI has proved its efficacy from the panchayat to Parliament. Cutting through red tape and bureaucratic prevarication, it has exposed entrenched vested interests in policymaking and implementation, and undermined officials’ impunity in perpetuating both grand and mass corruption.

The modes of putting information to use in the public domain have been equally important. Jan sunwais evolved as a form of public accountability from a historic first hearing held in the village of Kotkirana in Pali district on December 2, 1994. The process of sharing information initially obtained through informal means and publicly verifying the evidence with local citizens galvanised people. The opposition grew in proportion, as when panchayat officials went on strike against transparency and public audits and elected representatives gave them support. It became clear that accessing information would need a sustained struggle and campaign.

The campaign built an effective and popular discourse on the right to information, using slogans and songs to articulate and communicate. The slogan “hamara paisa, hamara hisaab” powerfully asserted people’s ownership over public money and resources. The late Prabhash Joshi highlighted another slogan in his editorial in the Jansatta in 1996, “hum janenge, hum jiyenge (the right to know, the right to live)”. The RTI so defined was seen and used as a transformative right.

The straightforward logic of the struggle and campaign drew diverse groups into articulating the demand for a law. A 40-day dharna in Beawar in April 1996 led to the formation of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). Set up with the twin objectives of drafting the law and supporting the use of the RTI by citizens’ groups, it circulated the first draft with the support of the Press Council of India in 1996. State laws began to be enacted in 1997, and continued to be in force till the national law was passed in 2005.

The enactment of the RTI not only inspired a spate of other rights-based laws, but also embedded transparency and accountability within them. The structural design of social audits derived from public audits, or jan sunwais, is becoming a systemic part of democratic governance. Earlier this year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India declared that social audits will be a part of the formal audit process. The mode of social audits is also spreading to other parts of the world.

The RTI has been India’s most powerful “weapon of the weak”, enabling citizens everywhere to question and hold to account the legislature, executive and judiciary.

They have exposed misdeeds by governments across the board, in the delivery of basic services, in land and mining, as well as grand corruption in arbitrary contracts, like in the allocations of 2G spectrum and coal blocks.

With the current attack on rights-based laws and that framework, there are difficult times ahead. The few instances of obvious “misuse” by blackmailers and eccentrics have been blown out of proportion in an attempt to discredit the RTI. Governments have excelled in delays and manipulations in appointing information commissioners. The consensual (informal) decision by all political parties to ignore the orders of the information commission mandating their inclusion under the RTI has exposed the degree to which the establishment can go to brazenly undermine the rule of law.

At one level, there is a sense of wonder that the law was enacted at all, defying prophecies that a corrupt system would never allow self-exposure. The truth is that the RTI did manage to build some statesmanship, and a consensus outside and in Parliament. Notwithstanding the implementation roadblocks, it is internationally acclaimed as amongst the strongest RTI laws in the world.

The end of the first decade sees the RTI movement poised to fight battles for accountability — the passage and implementation of the grievance redress, whistleblowers’ protection and Lokpal legislation. The unfulfilled potential of people’s participation in the pre-legislative consultative process awaits parliamentary sanction. The unfinished promise of proactive disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act,
the pendency in the commissions, the ever-looming threat of amendments, must keep the campaign alert to attacks to dilute the impact of the law.

“RTI laga denge (we will file an RTI application)” has become one of the most popular refrains of the frustrated Indian facing the arbitrary exercise of power. In fact, it needs to be taken further. Much eventually depends on an alert and vocal people.

The encouraging sign is that it seems like the argumentative Indian, who is now speaking truth to power, cannot and will not be gagged.

(Indian Express)

Central Govt. is making RTI ineffective: Aruna Roy

Social activist Aruna Roy has accused the Centre of questioning the RTI activists who were invited to attend a one-day seminar to mark the 10 years of RTI in New Delhi on Friday. Roy flayed the government officer’s intention for asking questions like what is your ideology? Your leanings are with which political party? Are you affiliated with any political party? What is you take on the new Central government? The activists were questioned while they were entering to attend the RTI programme.

“Even asking them about their family background indicates the Central government’s move to repress the activists,” said Roy while addressing a press conference in Jaipur. She said that government is scared of the fact that 80 lakh activists across the country are using this RTI right committed to bring transparency and good governance.

“Possibly the government is perturbed over the manner in which these RTI activists are coming up with the information making them uncomfortable,” said Roy who further accused the Central government of bringing changes in the Act to make it ineffective.

Notably, Roy along with other senior RTI activists had boycott the conclave in protest of inviting just seven activists while ignoring many seniors on October 15. When Roy was asked the reason for boycott, she said, “Out of 80 lakh activists, they had invited just seven while ignoring many others who represent different regions and bodies to get the holistic picture in the RTI conclave. Secondly, the manner in which intelligence bureau officers visited the place of those invited and questioned them clears their intention to influence the activists,” said Roy.

Another activist, Megha Patkar, who was also present in the press conference, expressed her concern over the rising religious intolerance, communal discords and corruption cases. “The open endorsement of mob violence and killings of writers by the leaders of the incumbent party is further threatening the situation. The statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Dadri incident was very late and weak which in unacceptable,” said Patkar adding that people of Rajasthan especially of Jalore and Barmer who are awaiting bare minimum water from the Narmada dam will come at the cost of 2.5 lakh rural people displacement.

“Modi government is violating norms to increase the height of the dam so that water can be given to corporates,” said Patkar who also urged the youths of Rajasthan to support the former MLA Girusharan Chabra indefinite hunger strike demanding complete ban on liquor in the state.

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(Source: TOI)

Teresa’s Charity can be de-recognised, not complying the adoption guidelines

NEW DELHI. Central Government could de-recognise 13 orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity after it refused to give children up for adoption to single, divorced or separated people.

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi said that the charity was not complying with the adoption guidelines, leaving the government with no option but to de-recognise them.
She said that they have cited ideological issues with our adoption guidelines related to giving a child up for adoption to single, unwed mothers. She said that they have their own agenda and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda, they are refusing it.

The NDA government guidelines notified by the WCD ministry in July made adoption rules more stringent. The Missionaries of Charity has refused to comply with the provisions related to adoptions by single, separated or divorced people.

Menaka said the Missionaries of Charity had itself written to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), an autonomous body under the ministry that regulates adoptions, seeking de-recognition of 13 of its orphanages. She also said that Government is trying and persuading them because they are valuable, good people and have experience. But if they do not follow the central guidelines, we will be left with no option but to de-recognise the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places.

A Missionaries of Charity person said, “We are stopping adoption. We have written to CARA.” But Missionaries of Charity refused to say why the charity was taking this step.
When CARA received complaints from two prospective single parents from Assam and Bihar then this action is taken.

(Source: Hindustantimes)

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