Sunday, April 3, 2011

Does Narendra Modi know what the letters NGO stand for?

SEWA logo

This one is irksome and unsurprising.

The latest Indian cablegate news is that the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat tried to encroach upon SEWA, the Ahemadabad headquartered globally reputed award winning multi-faceted women's non government organisation, in order to "disseminate communal ideologies" to their six hundred thousand members all across the state.  When the NGO resisted, its grants were held up over "financial irregularities", delaying payment for over five months to 12,000 poor members.

In a September 2005 cable, U.S. Consul General Micheal S. Owen recalls his meeting with SEWA general secretary Reemaben Nanawati.  Nanawati explains that SEWA strongly resisted pressure from the state government because communal harmony is crucial for the work of the trade union and self help group and  characterizes the state government's reaction as "vindictive".

Sigh.  Do you think, in our lifetime, we shall see the day Indian state governments stop treating the poor as their personal territory and start celebrating instead of interfering with the work of large successful NGOs?  I don't.  Why?  Two words: Vote bank.  Do I really need to spell it out to you?  No?  Good.


Jaidev Jamwal said...

I don't think that you are really aware of the "work and funding" of these so called NGOs

PunditCommentator said...

How wonderful. My blog has attracted a Modi-ite.

Sounds like you're the one not aware of Sewa's long history. Please educate yourself on

Jaidev Jamwal said...

Ouch that hurt. :D
Am not a BJP fan or congress baiter, but interaction with loads of NGO workers has left me with a bad taste in mouth. And you should never forget the role played by shady NGOs headed by Teesta Steevald and her kind. A lot of NGOs are involved in good work, but an equal number are just conduits of making money and/or hiding black money. In many cases salaries of their employees itself forms up to 90% of their total budget. Govts do interfere with their workings because a significant portion of their funds is paid for by govt itself. Gujarat govt could've done zilch in case it was not funding them in first place

Jaidev Jamwal said...

also, you are basing your post on "DIplomatic Cable written by a US diplomat" not the actual news. Read the following article for what really happened

Next time, try basing your articles on good bit of research, rather than getting mistakes pointed out and then blowing your top off. This blog is for public viewing after all..isn't it ?

PunditCommentator said...

The scope of this article is exactly one NGO with exactly one stellar reputation and exactly one government with less than a stellar reputation on the topic of communal ideology. Yet this article chooses to give the government the benefit of doubt and attribute the actions alleged to normal sarkari behaviour and attitudes towards their vote bank.

It is not the premise of this article to speak about any other NGOs, especially not without evaluations from their donors and/or independent parties such as NGO raters. Such a discussion is unproductive.

However in response to your comment on salary, I will say that grassroots NGOs that do community mobilization, outreach and awareness work (sometimes for government!) rely on human force, thus explaining the resource allocation to salaries.

Jaidev Jamwal said...

Benefit of doubt ? :))
You write one whole "moral high ground" post based on musings of an American Diplomat who was later transferred to Sierra Leone on a punishment posting. And when I point you to the reasons why Gujarat govt stopped paying SEWA, you come up with so called reputation thing. Try reading the DeshGujarat article first and understand why govt stopped the funding. and it's not that they banned others from funding it, they just stopped them paying state's money just like any donor would if the recipient wouldn't agree to transparent practices.
When the Gujarat govt finally stopped paying them, the organisation promptly started crying and whining alleging communal bias from govt. If that was the case, why didn't they say anyting before. What's the reason for whines about "communal govt" only after funding is stopped ? DId the govt turn communal overnight ?
Is SEWA servicing only muslims ? Are there no HIndus involved ?

Also, am curious to know the reason behind your assumption that SEWA is all white and angelic while Gujarat govt is communal. You've just copied the text from the newspaper and added 3-4 lines of your views. No proper analysis or any honest attempt to dig for details.

On the other hand, leave it, it's pretty late. Need to catch up on sleep and i'll probably never have the chance to visit your blog again and read your reply.
Have fun posting, but try to be objective.

PunditCommentator said...

Cablegate is the news. If you look at the tags, you will find Wikileaks is a running theme on this opinion blog.

The link you provide now presents the government's point of view - many of the audit points show the government's lack of familiarity with common NGO practices of hiring expensive consultants recommended by donors or the fact that the only way to travel comfortably and professionally in some areas of the hinterland is to hire private cars - but does not provide crucial meeting minutes. Neither does it provide evidence to dispute the allegations made by SEWA.

As internet behaviour goes, I'd say most people would've nuked you in seconds for your insulting troll-ish comment. If you're looking for a sugary response from a blogger, I'd advise you to send a non-hostile constructive message, especially when it is your very first. I'd say I've been more than accommodating to you.

PunditCommentator said...

I did read and respond to your link. You're welcome to slip away quiet into the dark night.

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