The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NGOs under tech scanner

New Delhi, June 30: The Centre has brought non-governmental organisations under the scanner to monitor their functioning and introduce greater transparency.

The human resources ministry’s department for women and children will use information technology to keep NGOs which take central grants on their toes.

A software programme has been developed to monitor organisations working on grants-in-aid schemes like special training employment projects, working women’s hostels, short stay homes and creches.

“We have these programmes which can be taken up by any NGO and state municipal body,” a department official said. The department implements the Integrated Child Development Scheme through government agencies and NGOs.

“Everything will be available on the web. In case a particular project is not working on the ground it can be brought to our notice,” an official said.

The new software will enable the department to monitor the status of pending cases and pinpoint if instalments are overdue and thus affecting project implementation. The department intends to carve a geographical profile of areas where projects are running and those that are not covered.

A sample map displays districts that have not been sanctioned projects in 2002-2003. “The idea is to zero in on districts not being covered by department projects,” an official said. The data will be based on a geographical system showing the location of all investments made in this sector.

Thirteen districts in Bihar, 10 in Chattisgarh, 11 each in Gujarat and Rajasthan and 10 in Orissa do not have a single project sanctioned.

Officials feel Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are using the schemes to strengthen their electoral base. “Information technology will benefit women even if they implement the projects for their own political ends,” said Snehlata, who works with an NGO.

Kerala heads the list of working women's hostels with 140, followed by Maharashtra with 127, Tamil Nadu with 91, Karnataka with 78, Madhya Pradesh with 59 and West Bengal with 39.

The Centre has tied up 1,066 NGOs to implement the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, which it says is a success. Its main objective is to give credit support to women through NGOs, development corporations, cooperative societies and state government agencies.

According to the department’s latest annual report 4,35,535 women have benefitted under the scheme. A credit limit of Rs 118 crore has been set.

The department feels there are gaps in implementing central schemes. A stricter monitoring of implementing agencies would bridge this gap. “The funds are to be more rationally deployed and the schemes more effectively implemented,” an official said.

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