Pleasant surprise for Kasturba Gandhi Trust
WORKERS OF the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) headquartered at Kasturba Gram, spread over 500 acre, here were elated to hear the announcement of Rs 5 crore grant announced by the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his budget speech today.india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 00:38 IST
WORKERS OF the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) headquartered at Kasturba Gram, spread over 500 acre, here were elated to hear the announcement of Rs 5 crore grant announced by the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his budget speech today.
However, the discrepancies created by the economics of time was evident as this grant may look pittance in comparison to the Rs 1.5 crore raised through charity at the time of its conception way back in 1945.
Incidentally, the Trust is the only NGO whose annual account is tabled in Parliament and Mahatma Gandhi was the first chairman of this trust, the only official position he held in his life.
The Trust was formed as a result of the endeavours of Mahatma Gandhi to strengthen rural India by creating a self-reliant economy, address issues related to women and children and accord prime importance to agriculture, cow breeding and ‘Khadi’ (hand spun and hand woven cloths).
Gandhi wishing to keep alive the memory of his departed wife who had sacrificed her life for the cause of the freedom struggle in order to immortalise her name in accordance with her lifetime cherished ideals and works found establishing a trust for needy in the rural areas the best option.
The unique history of KGNMT is set against the backdrop of the history of India’s freedom struggle. Eminent people from all walks of life as well as the anonymous masses, mobilised resources to set up this Trust with its headquarters in Indore and having 22 state branches all over the country. Eminent poetess and a stalwart of the freedom movement Sarojini Naidu dedicated her time and energy for the establishment of the Trust.
Some nationally prominent persons like Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Thakkar Bapa, GD Mavlankar, Prem Leela Thakersi, Laxmi N Menon and others were the chairpersons and secretaries of this Trust.
The board of trustees chairman included former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and the post is being currently occupied by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Trust secretary Dr Karunakar Trivedi told Hindustan Times that the allocation of the sum had come as a surprise as being a budgetary grant even they had been kept in the dark till its announcement. No proposal or plan for its utilisation had been prepared so far and a meeting of the 27 trustees had been
convened on March 19 to decide on the same.
Trust chartered accountant VK Dafariya said that the trust had a corpus fund consisting of the amount raised since its inception, which had increased over the years to about Rs 10 crore and had been meeting the financial needs of the trust. However, with the drastic decrease in interest rates it was no longer tenable for providing funds for all its activities.
The Government had therefore, made an allocation of Rs 15 lakh during the rule of Indira Gandhi in 1983-84 and it was decided that any future government contribution should be matched by the Trust.
Under the chairmanship of Ratan Tata the trust revived fund collection drives in 1988 and has raised Rs 5 crore till now. However Rs 15-odd crore is not enough for a Trust carrying out so many activities. The Trust has an annual deficit budget of Rs 30 lakh, which is adjusted by the interest received from the money in the corpus fund.
Elated as they are at Chidambaram’s largesse, the Trust office bearers and workers feel that this dole could be a one time grant in view of its 60 years of service to society. Dafariya said that today’s announcement of Rs 5 crore should also be added to the corpus fund so that the corpus amount would increase enabling them to earn a little more interest to meet the deficit budget.
Major activities at Kasturbagram
1Arogya Sadan (Health Services)
2Women Health Worker Training
3Baa-Ka-Ghar (Short Stay Home)
4Kasturbagram Krishi Kshetra (Agricultural area)
5Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Farm Science Centre)
6Krishi Vistar Yojna (Agriculture Extension Scheme)
8Kasturbagram Rural Institute (Girls’ College)
9Kanya Vidya Mandir (Higher Secondary School)
10Buniyadi Shala (Basic School from 1st to 8th Standard)
12Cloth Self Reliance
13Women Help Line (self Help Plan)
14Kasturba Jeevan Shikshan Yojna
15Sakriya Shanti Adhyayan Kendra (Peace studies Centre)
18Kasturba Darshan (Quarterly Magzine)