Non Goverment organizations or NGOs are under the scanner.


NON GOVERNMENT organizations or NGOs are under the scanner. In India they raised a storm while in the US they have put a question mark of the issue of USA’s next President.

There are, reportedly, allegations of the Clinton Foundation, owned by former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, receiving several significant donations from foreign governments including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE in addition to donations from agencies in Australia, Netherlands and Sweden.

While Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation received substantial donations from as many as 19 foreign governments. The Foundation’s website mentioned countries like Germany, the Dominican Republic, Bahrain, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Canada.

A sum of $500,000 was donated from the government of Algeria, in 2010: around the same time that Algeria was negotiating with the U.S. Department of State on issues of human rights.

Despite an existing agreement during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary, the Clinton Foundation was supposed to notify the State of the foreign transactions and get the nod but in the case of Algeria this was not followed. The Foundation is now called the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

With Hillary Clinton running for American Presidency, more skeletons are tumbling out of the cupboard casting a shadow on her candidature and credibility. When Democrats pitched for Hillary, they thought she was their strongest candidate. It now turns out that a Canadian mining company, closely associated with the Clinton Foundation, sold its uranium business to the Russians with approval from Clinton’s State Department: a controversy that will damage the campaign than any other so far has.

The investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation over the same period, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office was involved in approving the Russian bid.

Significantly as Russians wrested control of uranium in separate transactions between 2009 and 2013, cash flowed in to the Clinton Foundation: a sum of $ 2.35 million.

Questions are also being raised at Hillary Clinton seeing Russia as a trustworthy partner against national security consequences following the controversial transaction.

There seems a quid pro quo with foreign entities paying the Foundation and then getting preferential treatment from the State department. In other words, buying their way through the high echelons of US government by making donations to friendly NGOs.

It would be premature to conclude that the donations played a part in the approval of the uranium deal but the conflict of interest is clear: the Foundation, headed by a former President, depended on cash inflow from foreign sources while his wife, as secretary of state, presided over decisions that could and did, benefit donors to the family run Foundation.

Ofcourse the charges have been rubbished as “baseless” but they have cast a shadow.

The US and Clintons apart, NGOs in India are also facing the heat with Modi government cracking down on them. There are reports of foreign funded NGOs who are used to block developmental projects and create a bogey of resistance from common people. There is evidence of NGOs collusion with their funding agencies to stall national projects by egging the local people to protest against developmental projects including construction of dams.

Greenpeace India and Ford Foundation are being specifically targeted for what the Government sees as activities detrimental to the interests of India.

Greenpeace India is an NGO funded by the international campaign group Greenpeace, which works for protection of natural environment in over 40 countries. It was in the forefront in the agitation against coal plants in Madhya Pradesh, genetically modified food, e-waste, etc.

Following adverse reports, the Government has clamped down and put on hold all foreign contributions emanating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation.

The Government had earlier prevented a Greenpeace activist from travelling to the UK to speak to lawmakers there about the rights of indigenous communities.

The Ford Foundation has also been on the Government’s radar for sometime. Its grants have been under scrutiny even while its funding political and communal activists have raised questions including Anna Hazare led anti corruption movement some three years ago that was a beneficiary through Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO.

The Ford Foundation with its headquarters in the US, works for human welfare. It is, in some quarters, been seen as having links with CIA. It has been accused of funding movements that work against India’s political, social and economic interests.

The state government of Gujarat, on its part, has charged Ford Foundation of interfering with the judicial system and working against communal harmony by funding organizations run by Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. The duo has been in the forefront of seeking justice for the victims of Gujarat riots.

There are allegations of the Foundation funding to keep alive the Gujarat issue and fanning communal passions in the state and the country. It also sought a list of media persons who could be used to propagate a point of view based on the material the Foundation would provide.

The Gujarat government has sought a probe into the role of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO alleging that the funds from the Foundation were misused to create communal disharmony.

Like anywhere in the world, there are strings attached to foreign donations and home grown organizations are used to fulfill agendas of donors rather than carry out their work objectively and selflessly. Huge sums of money, particularly foreign funding, is temptation enough for NGOs to play ball.

There are vested interests involved: those that give and those that receive. The latter may be, for starters, get involved unknowingly, but once there, they are quite willing to pitch for the agenda of the donors. That this has national implications is a given.

If Greenpeace fanned anti nuclear agitations other NGOs have carried banners inopposing genetically modified foods and yet others working in the North Eastern states in India.

The Indian government has flagged its concern

about NGOs falling prey to the menace of money laundering and terrorist financing: the last being very worrisome from the point of view of national security. That the funds received lack proper audit, despite regulations in place, lend credence to the fact that there is more being hidden than revealed.

A large number of NGOs, for instance, have failed to file annual returns furnishing details of foreign receipts and their utilization. There are yet others who have failed to furnish information on their funding and operations.

The Government’s concern is backed by information that NGOs are either willing partners or have been used by donors to block India’s development by opposing critical projects.

The crackdown may have happened now but the concerns are age-old so to say. The Manmohan Singh led government was also aware of the goings-on except they were found dithering on the issue and in one sense turned a blind eye.

Singh, then Prime Minister, had stated on record that NGOs , often funded by the United States and the Scandinavian countries, do not appreciate the challenges India faces. He said this in the context of protests led by NGOs against nuclear power facilities. External forces, Singh had then said, were behind the delays against plants at Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu.

The present government has acted on what Singh’s government should have but did not do. There is a hue and cry with the Modi government being slammed. But it has taken a step, long overdue, and one that is in the right direction. NGOs working against national interest must be packed off and not allowed to use Indian soil to discredit the country at the behest of those who have a vested interest in wanting it derailed. Being funded to do this, is nothing short of being anti national.

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