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“The amount that we get from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funding has been drastically cut down. I think this year we will definitely see 40-50% cut in our CSR funding. One of the major reasons (behind this cut) is the PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance And Relief in Emergency Situation) Fund,” says Amod Kanth, the founder of the NGO, Prayas, and Coordinator NITI Aayog Standing Committee.
Why it Matters: CSR funds are one of the main sources of donation for service provider NGOs. But this year, since March 2020, a substantial chunk of CSR fund is going to PM CARES. As a result, several NGOs are facing challenges in running their welfare programmes.
All of a sudden we realise that due to PM CARES Fund, most of our funders are under some pressure, or because of the commitment towards the country, their responses or support towards us has come down to 50%.Viswajeet Ghosal, Director, Prayas
What we know: Over Rs 11,800 crore CSR funds were spent across India in the Financial Year 2018-19. But since April 2020 over 10,000 crores of CSR donations have gone to PM CARES Fund says Kanth.
PM CARES FUND was launched by the government in March 2020 to support COVID-19 relief work. Kanth argues that if a lot of CSR funds go to government relief funds, then the NGO sector will struggle to survive.
Suddenly the government creates a programme and funds are diverted to PM CARES, these are wrong things to happen. The entire spirit and provision of the CSR under Companies Act 2013 has been different. It is meant for those organisations that provide services.Amod Kanth, Founder, Prayas, Coordinator at NITI Aayog
‘50% Cut In CSR FUND To NGOs’: Kanth
In a survey Ashoka University spoke to 50 NGO heads in April-May 2020. The report says,
“NGOs dependent on CSR funding are facing challenges. Corporate funders are redirecting a large part of current CSR funding to immediate relief work, including the PM CARES Fund. Also, reduced financial profits will result in much smaller CSR budgets in the near future.”
Prayas is running around 40 homes for children across the country. “I think this year there will definitely be a 40-50% cut in CSR funds. We are really in great trouble,” said Kanth. The NGO is worried about how to arrange funds from other sources.
“We need to explore other areas of raising funds and resources so that we sustain the ongoing programs. We are going back to our Governing Board members and seeking their support. We’re reaching out to each and every individual, well-wisher, and supporter, because now every penny counts.”Viswajeet Ghosal, Director, Prayas
‘I Am Looking For Work, But Not Getting Any’
The Quint spoke to children and parents at Prayas’ Home for Girls in Delhi, to understand how they rely on the NGO for their survival.
Devi is a domestic help. Her 3 children come to Prayas for tuitions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has no work and her husband is an alcoholic. During the lockdown, till recently, Prayas helped by providing rations.
“We got rice from here 4-5 times and were very happy and still hope that we get rations from here as my children are small and need to be fed. The NGO people understand, so they call me and give me rice.”Devi, domestic help
Raviya Banu Begum is a cleaner at Prayas NGO. Her daughter lives and studies at Prayas because of an abusive father. She wants to earn enough to give her mother a comfortable life.
“I wish that I study and grow up and am able to buy my mother a nice house and have a nice job, so that my mother does not face any difficulty.”Raviya Banu Begum’s daughter
Like Devi and Raviya, we spoke to several other mothers who are dependent on Prayas and other NGOs for support.
I am looking for work, but not getting work. I will work if I get anything.Anguri, domestic help
The question is:
- How will the NGO sector meet their fixed annual expenses in 2020 if CSR funding has shrunk by 50%?
- Shouldn’t the government step up and bail out the NGO sector from this crisis?