KATHMANDU, Dec 22: The government has drafted a new bill with stringent provisions to allow it to scrap the registration of any Non-Government Organization (NGO) found breaching agreement signed with government bodies or involved in irregularities.
The Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare drafted the bill to amend the existing Social Welfare Act 1992 to keep NGOs in line.
"There is widespread criticism that NGOs are operating in Nepal in unbridled manner by violating terms and conditions mentioned in agreements reached with government bodies and other standards set by the government. So, the ministry has drafted the bill with a provision to scarp registration of any NGO found breaching agreement signed with government bodies or involved in irregularities," Under-Secretary Laxmi Narayan Uprety, chief of Organizations Coordination Division of the ministry told Republica.
As per the existing act, the Social Welfare Council can suspend or dissolve the executive committee of an NGO that is directly affiliated with the council or that receives economic assistance from the council, if it is found violating the prevailing laws or its own constitutions.
"The act does not state clearly what will happen to the NGOs if they violated the agreements reached with government bodies and the provision related to the suspension is also too vague. So, we have drafted the bill clearly mentioning that violation of agreements reached with the government or any kind of irregularities by NGOs will lead to scrapping of the registration of such organizations," Uprety added.
As per the bill, the council can write to the District Administration Office (DAO) to scarp NGOs found violating the terms and conditions and the DAO should immediately take action against the organizations and inform to the council immediately, said Uprety.
He said that the ministry included the stringent provision in the bill after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers time and again asked the ministry to come up with a new tough law following complaints of irregularities by many NGOs.
"Many NGOs have shown reservations over the provision in the bill. But we believe that the provision will only help in making them more responsible and stop irregularities," he added.
He said that the bill also includes a provision that the council can block funding of the INGOs, if they are found funding projects that cause harm to social integrity and violates the constitution.
The bill is currently at the Ministry of Finance for approval. "Once the bill is endorsed, we will forward it to the cabinet," Uprety said.
However, Chairman of NGO Federation, Gopal Lamsal said that the proposed amendment to the Social Welfare Act is irrelevant. "Inclusion of the provision to scrap the registration of any NGO will go against the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution," Lamsal added.