Money Mongers and Indian Judiciary - One is crook, another is crooked
This article can be attributed to an article titled "Charity Begins At Institutions" in "The Economic Times" of 11 September 2007. The article gets into the nitty-gritty of doing your homework of credential verification before you donate. The writer of the article rightly argues that it is not about writing a check but about connecting with the cause of the not-for-profit organizations.
Let’s start with the line of reasoning. How do we go about verifying the credentials of a not-for-profit organization in India? Well, documentary evidence, brick and mortar shops from where they run the businesses. Good enough for many. Not good enough for many.
The certificates of authenticity are provided by the government authorities who are one of the most corrupt in the world. And before you question my loyalty towards the country let me give you an example.
I went to the office of the Registrar of Companies; Bihar & Jharkhand in the year 2004 to get my private limited organization "Panacea Pvt. Ltd." registered. I was openly asked for bribe so that my application could be expedited quickly. I refused. Guess what! I was made to wait till the evening while people coming later than me were allowed to get their application processed. The cash-receiving clerk explained that he did not need the money as much as the Registrar of Companies does. Until, I pay the cut for the big boss he cannot take my application to the big boss because the poor clerk will be blasted otherwise. I chose not to pay and like always suffered and preached by near and not so near ones. Instead of "Panacea," I was assigned a name, the big boos felt like offering - "Panacea InfoTech & Consultancy Pvt. Ltd." This was despite the fact that the name requested by me was available and legitimate.
Now, lets move on to the other part of the article which is based on false assumptions:
1. That, you can make a surprise visit to the offices of the not-for-profit organizations.
2. That, you can see for yourself what they are doing with your money.
3. That, they are not above the law.
Huge insulting comments. Isn't it? Well, here you go.
I decided to become a foster father of an 11 year child in India through an organization called "Child Reach." Those days, I use to live in USA. The organization could have allowed me to support a child in Africa but they chose India for some unknown reason. For years, I supported that child and wanted to see him do well in life. The organization used to send me letters written by someone else on behalf of the kid named "Saplu Begari." After a few years, I realized that the kid was not able to write his name. In sheer disbelief, I demanded to meet the kid. I demanded to know how my money was spent on the kid. I was point blankly refused. I decided to call their counterpart in Canada, where someone supposedly responsible was there to answer my queries.
"You cannot meet the child. We are afraid that you might kill him."
Great and shocking answer.
When I came to India in 2004 for good, I decided to take this matter to the appropriate authorities. I filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of India for the violation of my fundamental right to get emotional fulfillment like any other citizen of India - article 14, 15 of the Indian constitution. It is 2007 now, and I haven't heard from the court.
Let me give you another example.
While living and working in USA, I was collecting money for draught relief in Orissa in the year 1999 through an organization called "Indian Draught and Relief Fund." I didn't like it, when one of the fellows from Nepal told me that if I wanted a check he would not give me in the name of an Indian not-for-profit organization, for he did not trust their integrity. Later on, I heard that IDRF was somehow linked to RSS/BJP in India and a part of the money we collected was spent towards political objectives. Surprised and outraged, I demanded the balance sheet and other accounting books. You know the answer. I never got it.
No wonder then, that, when I wrote my "Last and Living Will", I did not trust any Indian not-for-profit organization for allocation/distribution of my money to the beneficiaries who are not related to me in any ways.
Finally, the article does not have sufficient evidence to encourage us to spend money for tax benefits. The article claims that rather than paying a buck to a street beggar we should count on the not-for-profit organizations, for they know how to spend the money. Probably, the author means "how to misuse it," when he says, how they will use it. If, for some reason, the author believes that my article is biased because of my personal experiences, I would request him to kindly get the accounts of these organizations verified by him rather than trusting the signature of a chartered accountant. By the way, don't take the matter to the judiciary, you know what will happen. Don't take it to the parliament, for they are the protectors of such organizations or else how will they get the donation at the time of election. If you are concerned, do it by yourself.
What is the bottom line?
If you want to do good and do not want to see it misused, the ownership and accountability lies with you. You can fund for tuition of your servant's son, if you wish. You can buy clothes and distribute it among homeless and needed. Make sure you are giving the money to those who will not trade your items for liquor.
End of the day, you and only you are accountable for how your money is spent. And if you really need to save on taxes, hire a good income-tax advisor, if you cannot do it by yourself.
91-631-2450732, 91-9934878164, 91-9931172937