New rules for NGOs to receive govt funds

New rules for NGOs to receive govt funds

The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has framed guidelines for NGOs receiving government grants, and appointed NITI Aayog as the nodal agency for their registration.

The guidelines pertain to accounts and audit of the NGOs. The guidelines include the procedure for execution of bond, termination of grant-in-aid, blacklisting of NGOs, recovering money by civil suit and subsequent criminal action in case of diversion or misappropriation of funds, among others.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, acting as amicus curiae, to examine “effectiveness” of the guidelines and make suggestions to the court within two weeks.

Appearing for the Union government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) formulated the guidelines for accreditation of voluntary organisations and NGOs, which receive public grants.

A six-member committee under the chairmanship of S Vijay Kumar, former secretary, MoRD was formed on February 2 for framing the guidelines for accreditation of the NGOs. This was on the direction of the apex court on January 10, based on a PIL filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma. The government was then directed to complete  audit of the NGOs contemplated under the General Rules, 2005, and submit a report by March 31.

According to the guidelines, the NITI Aayog will maintain a database and systems to manage and disseminate information related to NGOs. For the purpose, the existing portal NGO-Darpan would be strengthened and aligned more closely with accreditation-like functions.

Information on the NGOs, such as their address, office-bearers, annual accounts and receipts of grants-in-aid and donations and links to their website, would be made available. All NGOs would also be provided a unique ID in the portal.

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