Acknowledging and Saluting our Society Heroes
Acknowledging and Saluting our Society Heroes
Why this petition matters
The Government Should acknowledge the NGOs & Social Workers as Frontline Warriors for playing the Crucial Role in the Pandemic
NGOs in India play a wide range of roles, including but not limited to service delivery, welfare works for community development, promoting democracy, human rights, equitable governance and citizens' participation, etc. Given the limited fiscal space available to the Government, its social sector spending remains highly inadequate.
When we started the pandemic relief works in all communities, we had no clue that a deadly virus had shaken the world. We, the NGOs, Social Workers, and Volunteers took the front line along with the Governments, Health Sectors, Police & Defense Personnel who have been educating every individual about the pandemic. To strengthen social solidarity in this time of physical distancing — the way we stepped out and came together as networking connectives to fight along as the Brave Warriors.
We provided relief aid to all the communities facing hurdles to survive through the financial crisis. We have seen the vulnerability and been with them who are endorsing those difficulties to be their strength and support! At this critical time, this robust network is coming in handy to extend both material help and mental health support to rural and marginalized communities, among whom many have lost their livelihoods and the basic means to get by. So far, it has managed to reach out to nearly two million people in these areas with cooked meals, ration, and hygiene kits. There have been ground challenges that were uprooted to scale back its operations. The logistics have been a challenge, but fortunately for us, the networks that we built in cities, villages, with community workers and local institutions across the country for the past few years have helped. There were few corporations that spent CSR funds on measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, which will be counted towards companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.
We have travelled to distant, remote areas to create awareness among the villagers on why it is important for them and their children to frequently wash their hands, refrain from touching their faces and how and when to use this thing called the sanitizer, which, until now, didn't even remotely feature in their scheme of things. Awareness drives in the villages and among distressed, ignored sections of society, which are crucial to protect them from Covid-19 and contain the spread of the virus, are also being undertaken.
These small measures have no consequence for the Government, nor do they have any financial implications. Yet they are likely to have a tremendous effect of signaling the Government's shift in attitude towards NGOs. Regardless of their approval or criticism of the Government, appreciating NGOs' work should be the cornerstone of this shift. While the Government seems to appreciate the potential of NGOs in addressing the immediate aftermath of the lockdown, the need is to foster a complementary and collaborative engagement that looks far beyond. However, for all this to materialize, an environment of mutual trust and respect is absolutely necessary. It can be achieved by taking a few confidence-building measures like withdrawing the newly introduced rule of NGOs having to register afresh for IT exemption every five years, which is scheduled to come into effect from June 2020. By the time the COVID-19 crisis blows over, the world as we knew it will cease to exist. NGOs do play a big role in easing everyone into the new world.
Acknowledging the NGOs as Frontline workers do more good for society. These small measures have no consequence for the government, nor do they have any financial implications. Yet they are likely to have a tremendous effect of signaling the government’s shift in attitude towards NGOs. Appreciating NGOs’ work, regardless of their approval or criticism of the government, should be the cornerstone of this shift.
We are not just one, but a network of dedicated Social Workers!
According to the Central Statistical Institute of India reports;
1) In 2009, there were 3.3 million NGOs registered in India, or one NGO for every 400 Indian citizens.
2) In 2020, GuideStar India (GSI) has more than 10,000 verified NGOs and more than 1,600 certified NGOs on its portal. There are also 100,873 NGOs registered on the ‘NGO Darpan’ Portal of Niti Aayog.