CAG audit inadequate and does not include the NGOs: ACHR report

Highlighting the importance of proper audit of the non-government organisations (NGOs), particularly those getting grants from the government, a report based on information received under RTI reveals that the Union and State governments give yearly grants worth Rs.1,000 crore to various NGOs.

“At a time when the grants to the NGOs given by the Centre have been increasing — from Rs. 561 crore in 2002-2003 to Rs. 835 crore in 2008-09, we need to have a ‘National Grants-in-Aid Commission’ through which all grants to the voluntary sector by all the Ministries should be routed for transparency and better monitoring of projects,” said Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) Director Suhas Chakma.

ACHR’s report — ‘India’s Funds to NGOs Squandered’ — alleges that the government of India’s funding to the tune of hundreds of crores to voluntary organisations was a scam and in dire need of reform as the audit by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) was infrequent, inadequate and does not include the NGOs.

The report points out that as per replies received under the RTI Act, the Central Ministries and the State governments provided at least Rs. 6,654.35 crore as grants to NGOs and voluntary organisations between 2002-03 and 2008-09 — Rs. 4,757 crore by the Centre and Rs. 1,897 crore. Mr. Chakma noted that beyond blacklisting of NGOs there was no accountability, while field surveys found that bribes played a major role in approval of projects.

The ACHR urged the Centre to ask all Ministries to do away with the current process of recommendations by the District Magistrates and the State governments, and invite applications through open call for proposals and consider projects on merits by independent evaluators. Mr. Chakma said the CAG report concluded that 7,916 fund utilisation certificates from the grantees for grant worth Rs. 96.79 crore from 1981-2009 were not obtained under the scheme of Grants-in-Aid for voluntary agencies.

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