After US, German ambassador comes out in support of NGOs

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 07, 2015 22:36 IST

Germany on Thursday asked India to support the NGOs, scores of which are facing punitive action by Modi government, and said there should be transparency on the part of authorities as well as civil society groups.

The remarks by German Ambassador Michael Steiner came a day after US ambassador Richard Verma hit out at the government for punitive actions against the NGOs.

“NGOs are doing impressive work in India. The country can be proud of having these NGOs. I think the fundamental approach should be to support their work. I share the view of those Indian friends and those also in the government who say that we should support them,” Steiner said on the sidelines of an event here.

To buttress his point, the Ambassador cited the example of work being done by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

“NGO's enrich the society. One of your best representatives in this field recently won the Nobel prize. I think India should be proud of the rich variety of NGOs that are active here,” he said.

Steiner also underlined the need for "clarity and transparency" from the government as well as the NGOs' side. "I think the best situation is if you have transparency on one hand and appreciation on the other."

US Ambassador Richard Verma had on Wednesday criticised the Indian government for crackdown on various NGOs, saying those who act peacefully to seek change are not anti-government and not trying to weaken national security.

In a crackdown on NGOs allegedly receiving illegal foreign funds, the government last month had cancelled licences of nearly 9,000 such entities for violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The US-based Ford Foundation has also been put on the 'watch list' by the home ministry, which directed that funds coming from the international donor should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from it. The government had also barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds with immediate effect.


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