Publicly funded NGOs, some of them working in key sectors, such as health and rural development, have squandered hundreds of crores of rupees, a report released by a voluntary organisation said.
In its report ‘India’s Funds to NGOs Squandered’, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) said government funding of voluntary organisations was in dire need of reform as the audit by the CAG of India was infrequent, inadequate and did not include NGOs.
Quoting replies received from various ministries to RTI queries, ACHR director Suhas Chakma said various ministries of the central government and state governments gave at least Rs. 6654.36 crores as grants to NGOs between financial year 2002-2003 to 2008-2009.
Chakma added the figure of Rs. 6654.36 crores was not accurate as a number of states and union territories, including MP, UP, Orissa and J&K, failed to provide information about the grants given to NGOs.
Highlighting corruption in government funding of NGOs, ACHR director demanded setting up of a ‘National Grants-in-Aid Commission’ through which all grants to the voluntary sector by various ministries had to be routed.
Field studies by ACHR suggested selection of grantees was often determined on the applicant NGOs’ ability to pay a bribe, rather than on their technical expertise.
“At least Rs. 1000 crores have been spent on bribes paid to different layers of officials for approval of the projects,” Chakma alleged.