Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Welfare of OBCs
Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Welfare of OBCs
The Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organizations for Welfare of OBCs was introduced by the Central Government during the Ninth Five Year Plan to aid voluntary organizations in adopting welfare activities for the OBCs. This article covers all the essentials of this measure.
The scheme was launched with the object of improving the educational and socio-economic conditions of OBCs through voluntary efforts. On a more precise note, it involves the intervention of the voluntary sector in improving the educational and socio-economic conditions of the target group (meaning the OBCs) to help them upgrade their skills and initiate income generating activities of their own or get gainfully employed. The scheme is founded on the principle that good voluntary organizations must not merely be assisted but also consciously built up.
Assistance would be rendered through the eligible voluntary and other organizations, if:
- It is a registered body under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (XXI of 1860) or any relevant Act of the State or Union Territory/a public trust registered under any of the prevalent laws/or a charitable company licensed under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1958/or any other public body or institution having a legal status of its own.
- It has an appropriate administrative structure and a duly constituted managing/executive committee.
- Its aims, objectives and programmes are concurrent with the ones prescribed for the scheme.
- It has been registered for at least three years at the time of applying for grants. However, this provision could be waived by the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, for reasons to be recorded in writing.
- It has maintained and operated a bank account for the last three years.
- It is not run for the profit of any individual or a body of individuals.
Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, the concerned VOs/NGOs must have an experience of at least two years in the relevant field; and the projects proposed by the organization are to be implemented at the Backward Districts identified by the Planning Commission.
Extension to Villages
The projects admissible under the initiative could be adopted in villages under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAAGY).
Scope of Coverage
Assistance would be provided for establishing centres and developing and delivering services, as this may enable the OBCs to hone their skills and start income-generating activities either through self-employment or wage employment.
Indicative categories of projects eligible for assistance is stated in Annexure-I. However, this is merely an introductory list and other projects can be adopted if the same is in line with the requirements of the scheme. The quantum of funds would be as per the demand duly recommended by the State Committee subject to the availability of funds.
Scope of Assistance
To reiterate, the quantum of assistance under this initiative is based on merit. While the Government of India may contribute to 90% of the approved expenditure, the remaining must be borne by the concerned voluntary organization from its own sources.
For PSU’s and other organizations like NBCFDC, the GIA under the scheme would be confined to 30% of the total project cost. Where the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment executes any element of the programme, the entire cost would be borne from the budgetary provision of the scheme.
Projects already approved would receive the first instalment of up to 75% of the estimated expenditure on submission of the following documents:
- An application in the prescribed Performa, supported with the required documents.
- Utilization Certificate of the grant released in the format prescribed under GFR-19A.
- Audited or unaudited accounts for the previous year highlighting the expenditure incurred.
- Budget estimates for the financial year for which the grant is sought for.
- Performance of the projects during the previous year, supported by statistical data.
The second instalment of the same would be released upon the submission of the audited statement of accounts, supported by the utilization certificate and inspection report from the prescribed agency.
Norms for Fund Release
Here’s a list of the some of the most vital norms to be followed by every qualifying organization:
- NGOs operating in multiple states and having multiple branches may receive funds for each of its branches. Each branch may either make a separate application or process the same under the parent body.
- The eligible candidates would be provided training for various trades in designated centres based on the existing infrastructure and the employment potential in the proximity of the proposed location.
- The selected organizations may conduct their activities either on its own building or a rented premise.
- Grants would be provided under the scheme in accordance with the procedures prescribed under Rule 149 of the General Financial Rules, 1963 (which is amended on a frequent basis) and on the recommendations of the State Governments/UT Administrations.
- Grants wouldn’t be sanctioned on the reasonable suspicion or suggestion of corrupt practices.
- The funds released under the scheme must be exclusively utilized for the intended purpose.
- No organization should receive assistance for the same purpose from more than one source.
- Prior to the release of grants, the concerned organization must make a declaration on a non-judicial stamp paper with two sureties to the President of India by stating that it will abide by the terms and conditions attached to the grant, and in case of non-compliance, it will refund the Government the total grant-in-aid sanctioned to it for this purpose with an interest of 6% per annum.
The above provision isn’t applicable for Quasi-Government institutions and institutions whose budget is approved by the Government.
- Organizations in receipt of funds must maintain subsidiary accounts of the Government Grant.
- These organizations are not authorized to dispose of any capital equipment and property purchased out of grant-in-aid without the Government’s assent.
Post by Sreeram Viswanath
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