Home >politics >policy >New system to rate NGOs to be set up: Prakash Javadekar

New Delhi: The environment ministry will set up a new system to assess and rate non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive grants from the ministry, minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.

“We will create a system where the performance of NGOs receiving environment ministry’s grant will be assessed to see whether the money has been spent on the purpose it was mentioned for and, second, whether the message for which the amount is given has reached the people and the purpose is achieved," said Javadekar, while releasing the 10th edition of the Directory of Environment NGOs.

The directory has been compiled by the Environmental Information System Centre, WWF India, on behalf of the environment ministry. It includes 2,300 NGOs from across India working towards environmental protection, conservation and awareness.

Since assuming power in May 2014, the National Democratic Alliance government has had a tense relationship with NGOs. In June 2014, a leaked Intelligence Bureau report described Greenpeace, an international environmental NGO, as a threat to the country’s national interest and economic development.

A few months later, Indian authorities offloaded Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai from a flight to London where she was scheduled to brief British MPs about the organization’s campaign against a mining company. The “offload" stamp on her passport was formally revoked in May 2015, following a Delhi high court order.

Last month, the Madras high court granted an interim stay for eight weeks on the cancellation of Greenpeace’s registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

However, Greenpeace India finds a mention in the list of 2,300 NGOs released by the environment ministry on Tuesday.

Javadekar said that an in-house rating of NGOs will be done on the basis of their performance and that the whole system will be an incentive for the NGOs to perform better.

“We want to create an indexation of NGOs for incentivizing them, wherein good NGOs will be appreciated and others who fall back will also get stimulus to get better. We would create a constant dialogue with people through NGOs," he said.

He added that the FCRA should not be viewed as the only criterion to recognize NGOs.

“FCRA is not the only criterion of recognize NGOs because there are thousands of NGOs who are working without foreign donation and they create resources within the country and work with masses and people. So those organizations will also be recognized," said Javadekar.

He said NGOs are a bridge between the government and the people and called for making the directory of environment NGOs more comprehensive.

The directory includes all information regarding NGOs, including the number of permanent and part-time staff, number of members, geographical coverage and general information such as name and address.

Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, an NGO, said government departments too should be assessed for performance.

“Conceptually everything should be assessed for its quality—it can be government and non-government. Why shouldn’t environment ministry be assessed? But the present circumstances where the way they (government) went after Greenpeace, it appears yet another hostile act by the state. The concept should be welcomed. However it should not be applicable to only NGOs but should be extended across the board, including government organizations as well," added Misra, whose organization works to clean and revitalize the Yamuna.

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