Source: The Economic Times, Apr 06, 2017
NEW DELHI: The rural development ministry has drawn up draft guidelines for the accreditation of NGOs and other voluntary organisations, it informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
These include proposals on how they should maintain their accounts and the course of action if they misused grants. The draft also details conditions under which criminal action could be initiated.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta circulated the proposals in the court on Wednesday to seek suggestions. The proposed norms, said the ministry, would help ensure transparency and autonomy of NGOs.
The guidelines suggested by the ministry will now be assessed by the court. The ministry has suggested the Niti Aayog as the nodal agency for NGOs.
The Aayog would maintain a database of all NGOs which apply for official grants and track their use and ensure recovery where that is required. NGOs would also get unique identities and the public could scrutinise their records.
The proposed rules will ensure seamless tracking of all work done by an NGO in the past and ensure that they stick to regulatory guidelines and ensure compliance, the ministry said.
According to the draft, each government department would have a broad-based committee to grant accreditation to NGOs. Organisations would be evaluated on internal governance and ethical standards, and all funds would be released through the public fund management systems, the ministry said.
A multi-tier monitoring system would be put in place, comprising the fund-sanctioning ministry and district and state level committees. The Niti Aayog would stand at the top of the monitoring mechanism.
NGOs would need to file periodic progress reports. The CAG may carry out audits of NGO that get more than Rs 25 lakh or over 75% of financial support from the government.
Those granted funds would need to sign a bond declaring they are responsible for the money and refund it with 10% interest if not used according to the prescribed guidelines, the draft says.