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1 NATIONAL POLICY ON THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR International Forum – Civil Society & Aid Effectiveness 04.02.2008 Gatineau, Canada Lalit Kumar Planning Commission.

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Presentation on theme: "1 NATIONAL POLICY ON THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR International Forum – Civil Society & Aid Effectiveness 04.02.2008 Gatineau, Canada Lalit Kumar Planning Commission."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 NATIONAL POLICY ON THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR International Forum – Civil Society & Aid Effectiveness 04.02.2008 Gatineau, Canada Lalit Kumar Planning Commission Government of India

2 2 CASE STUDY SESSION - CSO Effectiveness: Accountability & Enabling Environment  National Policy – presented as a case study has been formulated in a participatory mode to provide enabling environment for voluntary sector  Legitimacy & Accountability It provides legitimacy for the sector and seek accountability from CSOs. Policy talks abt Bilateral Aid and Foreign Contribution regulation

3 3 WHY WE REQD THE POLICY - RICH TRADITION & SIGNIFICANT SIZE  Diverse & rich sector - having all sorts of associations Caste / Religious / Ethnic, Social Movements, Resident Welfare Associations, Intermediary Associations, Foundations & so on and now many more new variants & hybrids are coming up  Significant size & scope 12 lakh VOs & 160 lakh Volunteers - provide innovative/ alternative models for development, create social cohesion / social capital and contribute to economy*. Thus, requiring legitimacy for and accountability from VOs, in the form of a National Policy * CSO, M/o Statistics is compiling statistics on contribution of NPIs to economy, based on a UNDP Handbook, along with abt 30 other countries.

4 4 REGULATORY & POLICY FRAMEWORKS - INCREASING GLOBALLY “In the past two years alone, more than 20 countries globally have introduced restrictive regulations …”* [e.g. Russia, Sudan, Peru in 2006; Uzbekistan in 2007] “The stated rationale for … regulations … counter- terrorism, national security, or curbing NGO abuse. Even where the goals themselves are legitimate, the means used to achieve them are … harsh”* At the same time, Governments have come out with Policies for better relations with emerging voluntary sector, distinct from regulatory measures, e.g. Compact in UK (1998) and Accord in Canada (2000) In democracies space is required for civil society - as dissent & discussion is the essence *[Source: David Moore (2007) Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments. International Journal for Not-for-Profit Law 9(3):3-26]

5 5 GLOBAL CIVIL SOCIETY INDEX - Country Scores (34 Countries) Rank CountryCapacitySustainabilityImpact Total 1Netherlands795489 74 2Norway558259 65 3United States7654 61 …… … 29India273020 27 34Pakistan261912 19 [Source: Global Civil Society – Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector By: Salamon, L. M. & associates (2004), CT: Kumarian Press]

6 6 VOLUNTARY SECTOR in FIVE YEAR PLANS First Five Year Plan (1951-55) Chapter on Public Cooperation in National Development : A democracy working for social ends has to base itself on the willing assent of the people … VOs can greatly enlarge the scope of the national plan by developing their own activities and dealing with social problems for which the State cannot provide in sufficient measure

7 7 VOLUNTARY SECTOR in FIVE YEAR PLANS Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) Approach Paper - the central government will.. announce a policy for the voluntary sector to recognize the enormous positive contribution which the sector can make in the development process Document approved by NDC – highlights main features of the Policy and states “ effective measures must be taken to implement the policy for improving governance. ”

8 8 POLICY ON VOLUNTARY SECTOR- Background Joint Machinery (JM) for GO-NGO collaboration, decided in June 20 03 to have a National Policy Draft prepared by VA Cell and placed before the JM members in 2004 and later revised Draft placed before 40 voluntary sector experts in 2005 - recommended four Expert Groups to revise the Draft Policy Number of consultations held with voluntary sector on the Policy. Cabinet Note prepared incorporating suggestions of Ministries & States and finally the Policy was approved by the Cabinet in 2007

9 9 CONTENTS OF THE POLICY OBJECTIVES  Create an enabling environment for VOs that stimulates their enterprise & effectiveness and safeguards their autonomy  Enable VOs to legitimately mobilize necessary financial resources  Encourage VOs to adopt transparent & accountable systems of governance  Identify systems by which the Government may work together with the VOs on the basis of mutual trust & respect

10 10 CONTENTS OF THE POLICY Establishing Enabling Environment (EEE)  Encourage State Governments to review prevailing laws and rules and simplify, liberalize them as far as possible [para 4.2]  Feasibility of enacting a new simple and liberal central law to register societies, trusts and non-profit companies to be examined [para 4.3]  Recognition to an independent national level self-regulatory agency for the voluntary sector would be provided [para 4.4]

11 11 CONTENTS OF THE POLICY EEE (Contd.)  State and Central agencies to be encouraged for placing basic documents of VOs in the public domain to increase public oversight [para 4.5]  Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to be reviewed, from time to time, to simplify its provisions, in consultation with the Joint Consultative Forum (JCF) [para 4.7]  Government guidelines for bilateral agencies to give direct assistance to VOs need to be simplified in consultation with the JCF to be set up by the Ministry [para 4.8]

12 12 CONTENTS OF THE POLICY PARTNERSHIP Consultation : by setting up Joint Consultative Forums / Groups at the Centre, State & District levels [para 5.4] Strategic Collaboration : to tackle complex problems where sustained social mobilization is critical over the long term [para 5.5] Project Funding: through standard schemes - ensuring proper accountability & monitoring of public funds distributed to VOs [para 5.6]

13 13 CONTENTS OF THE POLICY STRENGTHENING VOLUNTARY SECTOR  Encourage existing & new philanthropic institutions / private foundations to provide financial assistance to deserving VOs [para 6.1]  Government will encourage preparation & updation of VO databases [para 6.5]  Involvement of volunteers would be encouraged in public services, e.g. at hospitals, schools, sanitation campaigns, etc. [para 6.7] POLICY IS BEGINNING OF … A NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT & VOLUNTARY SECTOR, WITHOUT AFFECTING THE AUTONOMY/IDENTITY OF VOs

14 14 A NEW DEAL FOR INDIA’S VOLUNTARY SECTOR “ The Planning Commission has unveiled the National Policy …, to establish a new working relationship between the government and the voluntary sector … A well-thought-out Policy that supports and encourages NGOs, and reciprocal efforts by NGOs themselves to assess and monitor their own performance, would be a win-win situation for all ” [Source : ]

15 15 COMPREHENSIVE POLICY - EXCELLENT FOR MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE “ … impressed by the comprehensive- ness and quality of the ideas inherent in this new policy, … convinced that this text provides an excellent basis for a multi-stakeholder dialogue aiming to … support volunteerism in the long run. It also … encourage and inspire citizens to volunteer …” -UNV, UNDP (International Volunteer Day - 05/12/07)

16 16 RESULTS ACHIEVED BY THE INITIATIVE  Legitimacy & voice provided to the CSOs and accountability sought from them by self- regulation  CMs of States requested to prepare a similar Policy for their respective States - three States have already prepared their drafts  Ministries requested to take appropriate steps on recommendations of the Policy  Guidelines being prepared & Expert Groups being set up to take forward different recommendations of the Policy

17 17 LESSONS & GOOD PRACTICE  Participatory approach & providing ownership to the CSOs helped in formulating a broadly agreed policy framework for a diverse & vibrant sector  Policy should be a broad framework but deliverables & time bound targets shd be there  International consensus to have similar frameworks in developing & developed countries would help in implementation of the Policy  CSOs should be involved as active actors in alignment, harmonization & management of development results

18 18 LESSONS & GOOD PRACTICE  Policy frameworks for the voluntary sector should help in capacity building of CSOs so that they may move to center stage in dialogues on issues like aid-architecture  Games of aid-trade should be understood by CSOs before they make suggestions, and for that they need research back-up  Before seeking accountability from donors (Multilateral, Bilateral, NNGOs, State or Federal Govts), CSOs have to set their house in order


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