Staff Reporter

Plan to take up massive signature campaign

The proposed bill wipe out voluntary sector in the country

NGOs cannot carry forward 15 per cent of the grant to next financial year

DINDIGUL: Voluntary organisations have appealed to the Central government to withdraw the proposed Direct Tax Code Bill 2009 that levies tax for all their donations paralysing all charitable NGOs. They demanded continuance of existing provisions.

The NGOs like Social Action Movement (SAM), Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), New Delhi, V.K. Foundation and Gandhigram and Rejuvenation India Movement (RIM), will take up massive signature campaign pressing the government to continue the existing provisions favouring voluntary sector.

These issues were discussed at a special consultation on Networking and Advocacy Campaigns held here on Thursday.

The SAM convenor L. Antonysamy said the proposed bill would totally wipe out voluntary sector. It was totally contrary to government’s voluntary sector policy that recognised contributions of Indian voluntary sector in development of marginalised communities and supported NGOs to continue their services.

Several innovative programmes of NGOs like women self-help groups, micro-credit, awareness programmes on child labour, bonded labour and environmental protection activities and social audits of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, empowerment of women and Dalits in panchayats, gender sensitisation programmes and non-formal education programmes had been adopted by the government. Such measure would prevent NGOs from taking up such innovative approaches.

The bill has treated all donations of charitable organisations as income and taxed the total income. Under current provisions, the NGOs could carry forward 15 per cent of the year’s grant to next financial year without taxation. But this would not be possible from 2011 as NGOs have to pay the tax. Moreover, NGOs have been involving in income generation programmes to mobilise local funds to carry out their activities without depending on external sources. Hereafter, all these funds would be treated as income and taxed, he worried.

Taxing of surplus grants carried forward from one financial year to the next, would make NGOs suffer without funds and affect their future activities. Ultimately, the proposed bill would silently kill voluntarism in the country, he cautioned.

Recalling dedicated service of NGOs in the aftermath of tsunami, he said the country should not forget the services of charitable organisations in health, education and poverty alleviation programmes in the post-independent era, he added. Several NGOs took part.