Recognise our work, give tax concessions: NGOs
CHENNAI: A network of civil society organisations (CSOs) across India sought recognition of their services during pandemics, disasters, implementing government programmes and instituting an ‘Ease of Doing Good Index’ on a par with the ease of doing business.
The CSO COALITION@75 also sought a social security fund for the sector, workers during emergencies, health needs, besides a level-playing field in recognition of their contribution to nation building.
A recent report by the NGOs on 75 years of service said the civil society’s contribution to the GDP is significant in terms of jobs, volunteers, and involvement of millions of people across the country. “In fact, NPO/CSO contribution is half the contribution of the IT sector, which has been the poster boy of the growth story and is offered concession after concession and 10-year tax holidays. But the civil society has been at the receiving end of the regulatory stick with even the simple concessions like 100 per cent tax concessions under Section 35 AC and 35 (i) (ii) being summarily removed,” the report claimed.
Mathew Cherian, former CEO of HelpAge India, who is among those who prepared the report, said: “It also accommodates a survey of 515 NGOs throughout India and sectoral reports on children, education, healthcare, social and mental health, and disability.” The report would be launched in Chennai soon, he said.
The report states that civil society organisations are economic engines of growth and contribute to 2.7 million jobs and 3.4 million full time volunteers - larger than the public sector. A substantial portion of CSOs contribute Rs 3.56 trillion as high as 2 per cent of the GDP, it states.
Sivakumar VK, secretary, Gandhigram Trust, sought a level-playing field with regard to recognising the contribution of CSOs, especially in supporting the government initiatives and programmes. “There should be a level-playing field in providing concessions to the CSOs on a par with the corporate sector,” Sivakumar said.
The report describes the vast canvas of work of 16 million employees, 21 million non-profit’s honorary board volunteers/members who inspire the work and the millions of volunteers and donors who support the work and causes served of CSOs in India.
“Black sheep exist in all sections of society and cannot be used to tarnish those who have spent a lifetime in dedicated social work,” the report said.
It also suggested instituting the Ease of Doing Good index like the ease of doing business.
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