Sunday, 2 March 2008

Foreign funds galore: NGOs now eye on differently abled

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Several organisations in the State have now turned their attention to the differently abled with an eye of the large cache of  funds created by foreign funding agencies.
According to official estimates, at least 30 per cent of the total foreign funds flow into the country goes to the "welfare" of differently abled people. The Union Home Ministry has put the amount of foreign funds pumped into the country during last year at Rs 7877 crore. The funding has been growing at a rapid rate of eight to 10 per cent every year.
Non-governmental and social service agencies in Andhra Pradesh receive around Rs 500 crore every year from foreign funding groups for differently abled services. Disabled funding has become a priority subject for foreign groups after HIV/AIDS if the quantum of money sent to India is any indication. The total foreign funding was just Rs 4871 in 2002 and has almost doubled in the last five years.
The recent agitation in the city involving differently abled persons is said to be a ploy to attract the attention of funding agencies to the plight of the handicapped in the State. An NGO closely associated with a caste-based organisation is said to be the mastermind behind the all-night sit-out at Basheerbagh.
"The population of differently abled persons in the State is about 50 lakh. AP is one of the few States in the country to have such a large population. Naturally the fund flow into the State is also large. This has led to an unhealthy competition among NGOs in the State leading to street demonstrations," said V Koteswara Rao, who himself manages a welfare agency for the disabled.
Intelligence reports sent to the chief minister's office also pointed out that NGOs were increasingly going in for "disabled welfare" to knock off funds. It was precisely the reason why the government dodged the issue before bowing to the pressure tactics of the demonstrators.

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