Saraswati was a successful IT professional in USA. Moved by the patriotic sense of doing something for the country she returned to India. Together with some other like-minded friends, she formed an NGO to build a school for a poor rural community. The objective of the school was to provide the best quality modern education at a nominal cost. She soon discovered that she has to seek permission from a number of Government agencies. The rules and procedures were quite confusing and cumbersome. What frustrated her most was the delays, callous attitude of officials and constant demand for bribes. Her experience and the experience of many others like her has deterred people from taking up social service projects. A measure of Government control over voluntary social work is necessary. But it should not be exercised in a coercive or corrupt manner. What measures can you suggest to ensure that due control is exercised but well meaning, honest NGO efforts are not thwarted? (20 marks) (250 words)

Firstly, development processes targeted at educating rural impoverished communities should be encouraged. Saraswati and her friends were determined to use NGOs to effect positive change. Their passion should not be stifled by providing them with every feasible support in a timely manner.

The following steps can be taken to assure legal compliance and to expedite the approval process:

(i) All procedures for registering non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should be made online, with the provision for considered acceptance within a month unless a severe flaw is discovered in the application and the applicant is notified within the prescribed time frame.

(ii) In the case of schools, the government has the authority to establish minimum standards. Playgrounds, labs, teacher-student ratios, and other amenities may be included in these standards.

(iii) If an organisation meets these standards, the government may provide time-bound automatic permission, and the claims made by the school administration must be made public.

(iv) Schools may be asked to post images and necessary information to government websites so that compliance officials from the office can monitor compliance.

(v) Surprise inspections must be conducted to ensure that schools are operating properly, and harsh penalties may be imposed on promoters if the standards are not met.

(vi) For the registration of NGOs and the recognition of schools, the government can additionally provide a helpline or an SMS-based grievance redressal mechanism. All issues must be resolved immediately and effectively by the competent authority.

To accomplish development, the government and its officials must work together with NGOs to guarantee that their policies/programs reach the poor, rural, and distant areas.

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