The COVID-19 has resulted in unbelievable loss from stem to stern but the most important loss is of human life, which is ground breaking. COVID-19 is “COVID-19 is the contagious disease caused by corona virusdiscovered a short time ago. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.” After its breakout, “the World Health Organization declared the same as Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on January 30, 2020. When on 24 March, 2020 at 8:00 PM, the Prime Minister announced a 21-days lockdown, giving billions of people of our nation on the dot, exactly dead of night hours to prepare for it. since than we have seen different stages of lockdown.
Today, our roads are hauling under the tonnage of migrant workers as they are foot logging ‘home’. We hardly have any idea about how many children are walking with their families. While the central government has taken some steps but it was far more difficult for them to reach hundreds of slums and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) as the population is very vast. During this blind spot non-governmental organisations (NGOs) played a distinct role in reaching and helping out in every possible way they can, from distributing dry rations to providing cooked meals.
They played an extraordinary role. NGOs have been supporting our weaker section of society since time immemorial and at the same time helping address issues that are difficult to tackle. These organisations are providing ration kits, masks, sanitisers, money, medicines and other basic commodities to help many underprivileged and needy people and
are helping the migrant labourers. These organisations have become the hidden frontline heroes who are going out of their ways to leave no one behind in these unprecedented times.
In the year 2014 government declared that it is mandatory for large corporates to spend some part of their profits for social welfare activities and it is regulated by Section 135 the Companies Act, 2013 –
“135. Corporate Social Responsibility
(1) Every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more or a net profit of rupees five crore or more during any financial year shall constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the Board consisting of three or more directors, out of which at least one director shall be an independent director.
(2) The Board’s report under sub-section (3) of section 134 shall disclose the composition of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
(3) The Corporate Social Responsibility Committee shall, —
- formulate and recommend to the Board, a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy which shall indicate the activities to be undertaken by the company as specified in Schedule VII;
- recommend the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the activities referred to in clause (a); and
- monitor the Corporate Social Responsibility Policy of the company from time to time.
(4) The Board of every company referred to in sub-section (1) shall, —
- after taking into account the recommendations made by the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, approve the Corporate Social Responsibility Policy for the company and disclose contents of such Policy in its report and also place it on the company’s website, if any, in such manner as may be prescribed; and
- ensure that the activities as are included in Corporate Social Responsibility Policy of the company are undertaken by the company.
(5) The Board of every company referred to in sub-section (1), shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two per cent. of the average net profits of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years, in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy:
Provided that the company shall give preference to the local area and areas around it where it operates, for spending the amount earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility activities:
Provided further that if the company fails to spend such amount, the Board shall, in its report made under clause (o) of sub-section (3) of section 134, specify the reasons for not spending the amount.
Explanation. —For the purposes of this section average net profit shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 198.”
As per this section there is a specific criteria i.e. a company, whose net worth is at least five hundred crore rupees with turnover of one thousand crore rupees or more, or has a minimum net profit of five crore rupees during the immediately preceding financial year has to spend two percent of their profits in Corporate Social Responsibility expenditure. The Corporate Social Responsibility (hereinafter referred as CSR) funds were estimated approx. thirteen thousand crores rupees in the financial year of 2017-18. With the amendments over the years, the role of the CSR has been improvised, as from “inspiring” the corporate sector for the benefit of public at large, to “punishing” them in case they don’t.
So, the corporate sector usually donates a certain percent of their share of profits to these NGOs This was a major source of funding for the organisations which further helps them in carrying out their roles and responsibilities. Since these non-governmental organisations have no government funding, they are self-regulating business model that aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist or charitable nature by engaging in supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices.
While the organisations made sure to quadruple their efforts, they faced a lack of funding. The central government started the PM Care- Relief fund for the successful tiding of the crisis and included the donations from the corporates under CSR. It’s not at all a bad thing but this created a setback for the NGOs as their major source of funding’s were stopped while their work was being carried on a massive scale. This posed a challenge to the NGOs. To help people, funds are required and they can’t run away from the organisation which was solely created for the purpose of humanity, protection and help especially in these tough times.
But the NGOs too, didn’t lose heart. When one has a noble thought behind his wish, things conspire for everything to fall together. Though the NGOs didn’t receive the fund they wanted as the corporate sector donated their profit share to the PM care funds, they didn’t stop their good work and likeminded and kind people united and offered support. Many good citizens came forward and did the best of their capacity to help other people.
All the NGOs are working out of their comfort zone and doing their best even with the challenges of funding and risk of health amidst this pandemic to offer whatever help they can within their spheres. These organisations are putting heart and soul into what they are doing that even the Supreme Court can’t stop but appreciate their all-out efforts. The Supreme Court said – Though it is the responsibility of government to take care of migrant workers, the contribution and role played by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “deserves all appreciation” for coming forward to help them by providing food, water and transport during the “difficult time” of COVID-19 pandemic. High court, Apex court, all payed their immense gratitude to the NGOs for helping in these difficult and harsh times.
We, Prayaas Corps, an NGO working for the betterment of the underprivileged community with an aim of eradicating child begging and promoting education and nutrition, too took these times as an opportunity to extend our helping hands to as many people as possible to be safe and healthy. But our supporters are not from any international companies, they belong to the upper middle-class section with modest economic background and this pandemic hit them as well. Many businesses were affected, salaries were cut and many donated to the PM and CM care funds. So, we were not able to have enough funds. But this can’t and won’t stop us from helping. We, have collected small donations from common people and-
- have manage to distribute almost served more than 6.8 lac meals to people during the lockdown and still serving.
- Distriurbed hygiene kit to the underprivileged
- More than 3000 Dry ration kits and 15000+ food packets being distributed to daily wage workers, migrant workers since day 1 of Lockdown
- Helping 500 families by transferring rupees 1000 in their accounts for their essential needs.
- Training around 50 daily wagers slum dwellers families to make Automatic Foot Sanitizer Machine so that they can have options for their livelihood and a way front for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
- Educational support to underprivileged children living in slums by providing them worksheets as they don’t have any smartphones.
The 54% of our funding use to come from individual donor, 12% from our public fundraising activities which includes charity drive, fundraising event. etc while 34% comes from companies and organisations. We have already suspended our fundraising activities for the coming 3 months. We are trying to deal with this part, as 70% of our funding are being diverted to our initiatives like Emergency Relief service for COVID-19.
We are trying to manage our ongoing programmes by cutting on some of the areas. We have put on hold our environmental initiatives along with our cultural programmes which were conducted in the school -Prayaas Ki Pathshala. We are thinking to include some compulsory leave (a day or two) for our staff in a month. Plus, some salary deduction is also in order to cut or lower down expenses. As we need to spare our funding for our Pathshala where underprivilege kids get their education, nutrition and skill learning.
Further we are planning to distribute 5000 masks in next one month in Jaipur and Bihar to underprivileged communities. These masks will be Prepared by women entrepreneurs from low economic communities who got hit by this lockdown. A support to them.
When a crisis hits, the strength and unity of humanity determines the solution. And we are ready, prepared and confident to continue our mission with help of our 600 plus supporters amidst the challenges to serve the society in this difficult time of a global pandemic.
 Advocate at High Court of Rajasthan and Research Scholar- Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur.
 Founder, Prayaas Corps and Karmaveer Chakra Awardee.
 “Corona viruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several corona viruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).Available at https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus (Last accessed on 26/06/2020)”
 By WHO “Available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 (Last accessed on 26/06/2020)”
 “Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)(Last accessed on: 26/06/2020).”