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Kathmandu, January 19
Hundreds of NGOs in the country are running in their own way without caring the state rules. However, the government is doing less to bring them to the book.
There are about 100,000 NGOs in 75 districts across Nepal. The total number of NGOs affiliated with the Social Welfare Council (SWC) is about 44,000. And the total number of INGO is 254 which are registered on Social Welfare Council. However, only about 20,000 are actively involved in their activities, according to the SWC. “We are also unaware of many of the NGOs what and how they are working,” said the SWC officials.
The I/NGOs are investing in their own way in any sector whatever they like. A total of 77 INGOs have pledged to spend Rs. 2.47 billion every year but they have not maintained transparency. Some of them are involved in converging the people’s religion in the name of assisting in development programs.
“There are a lot of problems in the sector. The government is yet to do many things to take necessary actions,” said Hari Tiwari, acting director at the SWC. At a time when everybody and institution are entitled to obey the law of the country, the state-owned two bodies blame each other defying the law of the country.
The Social Welfare Council (SWC) blames the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare for not following the law while distributing funds to the NGOs. On the other hand, the Ministry has blamed the SWC for being super-autonomous above than the state laws.
The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare provides a total grant of some Rs 250 million annually to the NGOs. Social Welfare Act and the law made regarding registration of the NGOs provision to keep transparency about funds whether they are provided by the Government of Nepal or by the foreign donors. There is no clear rules and regulation related to NGO/INGO. The amended act of 1994 is not sufficient to control and monitor of the NGOs, first act was formulated in 1977.
However, none of the state bodies is monitoring and evaluating their activities, and their legal status. “There is no such law in the country to closely regulate their registration, renewal and operation of the NGOs in the country,” the government officials admitted.
Hari Tiwari, Acting Director of Social Welfare Council, said that the ministry distributes funds to the NGOs without informing the SWC as per the rules.
Bharat Raj Sharma, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW), said that the ministry does not need to anybody to provide grants to the NGOs. “The spirit of the law is not mandatory to inform about grants to the SWC, which has its own rule and does not follow the laws of the country,” he added.
“All the NGOs are not registered with the Social Welfare Council. They registered in the District Development Committee” said Tiwari. He added, “Actively working NGOs in Nepal are around 20,000.
But we have not been able to closely monitor their activities due to shortage of manpower. We monitor more than 100 NGOs annually. We have started keeping the software data of NGOs.” Interestingly, there are about 200 staffers including more than three dozens of officers at the SWC.
Before the restoration of the democracy the numbers of the NGOs was 250. And rules were tight to establish the NGOs till 1991. There is dramatically increase in the number of NGOs after the government of CPN UML in 1994. The CPN-UML affiliated NGOs are about 80 per cent of the total NGOs.
“There is weak monitoring and cooperation of the government in the matter of NGOs”, said, Gopal Lamsal, Chairperson of NGO Federation of Nepal. “The monitoring of the NGO is carried out only when complaint is filed against the NGO.”
Tiwari informed that the SWC has recently brought the project agreement regulation 2016 by amending the regulation of 2014. “The regulation provisions the NGOs will be bound to work in the districts where they were registered. If they want to work in other districts, they should take permission from concerned departments and ministries,” said. “Moreover, the INGOs will not be allowed to select local NGOs from their own countries as per the new regulation. We are working to implement the regulation,” he added.