karmayog – How to strengthen civil society – suggestions needed

In May 2009, the Planning Commission, Govt. of India, set up “a Task Force
to examine the issues related to the evolution of an independent, national
level, self-regulatory agency for the voluntary sector and to develop
accreditation methodologies for voluntary organisations”.

The 132 page Report of the Task Force is available at is available at

Pushpendra Kumar from the National Institute of Rural Development
(NIRD), who has also contributed suggestions to the Task Force says about
the Task Force and this report that:

“I find the entire exercise directed to corporatising the voluntary sector.
This is against the spirit of the National Policy for the Voluntray Sector
and will have disastrous impact on the sector.

The composition of the participants of the Task Force also bears the
testimony to my point. The voluntary sector needs a different kind of
professionalism, one that is largely different from the professionalism
required in the corporate sector (or corporate NGOs).

The significance of the voluntary sector lies in its creativity, diversity,
strong links with the community, its localised nature, voluntary spirit, its
capacity and courage to question, to challenge the dominant paradigms of

I also find this an effort to further encroach upon the autonomy of the
voluntary sector. The proposed composition of the National Accreditation
Council includes representatives of government bodies, corporate bodies
(CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, ICAI, other chambers of commerce and industry) and
grant making government and international organisations.One would expect
that this would be a body comprising either exclusively or predominantly
representatives from the voluntary sector.

There is a need to recognise the diversity and wisdom of the voluntary
sector. The sector itself can find ways of enhancing accountability and
transparency in its practices. No one size can fit all and no
superimposition of norms (read corporate norms) is going to help. Let the
debate on such important issues as accountability and transparency be taken
to the vast expanse of the civil society.”

The Planning Commission and CAPART invites comments and suggestions from
voluntary organisations, social activists, donor agencies and citizens.

Send your responses to: Mrs. Rupa Dutta, Director, Voluntary Action Cell,
Planning Commission, Yojana Bhawan, New Delhi 110003
Tel: 23353437, Fax No. 23096764 and Email: rupa-pc@nic.in

You may also send your responses to CAPART at dg@caparthq.delhi.nic.in and
helpdesk@caparthq.delhi.nic.in and a cc to info@karmayog.org for follow-up.



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