The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 has several issues, the chief of which is that it is mandatorily applicable to schools run by Hindus, whether they are aided or not. RTE cannot be mandated upon schools run by minorities (whether they are aided or not).
Thus, prima facie, RTE is both divisive and sectarian.
In general, it is important for the lay public not to be bamboozled by the name of a particular law. This is truer for the Right to Education Act than for any other. Our research has led us to reasonably conclude that in the long run, laws such as the Right to Education will end up determining who has the sole Right to Educate. For comprehensive research and analysis of this law, one can refer to these posts of Reality Check India(@realitycheckind): 1, 2, 3, 4.
The RTE Act was preceded by the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005. The two are intimately tied to each other via Part VIII of the former. CPCR demands the establishment of a State-level (and a National) Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR/NCPCR), to which citizens affected by non-compliance of RTE (or of PCR rules) can appeal.
Although not explicitly included in the law, civil society (a phrase illegitimately appropriated by NGOs) is involved in the day-to-day execution, implementation and oversight of these laws. They interface between parents, school managements, and the NCPCR/SCPCR bodies. Furthermore, they create an aura of righteousness and Robinhoodery among the general populace via glorious descriptions of their activities related to RTE in mainstream media.
It is thus crucial for Indians in general and Hindus in particular (the affected party who are solely made to carry the RTE yoke) to examine those NGOs which are involved in the advocacy of the RTE Act and their funding.
This research report is in pursuit of this aim.
RTE-NGOs and their Foreign Funding
Just who are these NGOs which advocate RTE? Who are these pressure groups? Where do they get all the money that is required for their street and other protests and their expensive litigations? Who funds their sustenance?
One of the key developments in the NGO space over the last few years is their massive consolidation.
While mergers and acquisitions are common in business, NGOs do not merge into one another. While retaining their individual existence, they form loose alliances/networks/fora. NGOs advocating the Hindu-targetted RTE too have formed such alliances. Some prominent ones includethe RTE Forum (RTEF) and the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE).
We note that nearly all the RTE-advocating NGOs are foreign funded, via FCRA. Details of their foreign funding are also provided in the following List. The following caveats apply:
- Not all the foreign funds received by these NGOs are likely to be spent on RTE advocacy work.
- The NGOs provided in these Tables may also be receiving funding from within India, an aspect not covered in this article.
The FCRA Registration Numbers of the NGOs are also provided in the Table. The data can be verified by choosing the State and Year at http://fcraonline.nic.in/fc3_amount.aspx ; State codes given in this article are the same as those used in State Road transport.
Table-1: NGOs which advocate and campaign for RTE and which maintain a vigil on its implementation
|Name||Registered Location||FCRA Reg. No.||Foreign funds in 2012 (Rs. Crore)||Chief Donor(s)/Remarks|
|Action Aid||Bengaluru||KA/94420006||90.4||Action Aid-UK, DFID. DFID stands for Department for International Development, an agency of the British Government.|
|PLAN India||Delhi||DL/231660122||85.7||PLAN-UK, PLAN-Canada etc..|
|Oxfam India||Delhi||DL/231661035||48.0||Largely from Oxfam’s International offices. See extract from its UK annual report below.|
|Save The Children||Mumbai||MH/83780585||2.27||Boeing Company, Dell Foundation, GI Giving etc.|
|The American India Foundation Trust (AIF)||Delhi||DL/231660510||10.4||AIF-US Chapters, British Asian Fund, Cognizant, Dell etc.|
|BETI Foundation||Lucknow||UP/136550196||0.457||Kusuma Trust-UK|
|Lok Mitra||Rae Bareli||UP/136670019||0.645||Caritas (DL/231650203) which is located in Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India Centre-Delhi, East meets West Foundation-USA and Oxfam|
|The Vigyan Vijay Foundation||Delhi||DL/231660680||0.072||St. Stephens Episcopal Church-USA|
|Sikshasandhan||Bhubaneswar||OR/105020201||0.897||CARE-India, Oxfam, Welthungerhilfe, Terre des hommes, CRY, PLAN|
|Centre for Youth & Social Development||Bhubaneswar||OR/105020009||6.20||Oxfam, PLAN, Concern-Ireland, Ford Foundation, National Foundation for India (NFI) (DL/231650642). NFI gets funds from Ford, McArthur and Rockefeller Foundations|
|Peoples Cultural Centre (PECUC)||Bhubaneswar||OR/105020140||1.26||Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), Help Age (DL/231650010), Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) (GJ/41910350); ADR gets funds from HIVOS, Omidyar Network Fund & Ford Foundation.
BRB gets funds from its worldwide offices.
|BVLF-ULLASH||Bhubaneswar||OR/104910159a||0.244||Funds from BVLF-Netherlands|
|Aide Et Action||Chennai||TN/75900517||12.56||Aide Et Action-France, BVLF-Netherlands, Child Fund India (KA/94420147), AIF (DL/231660510)|
|Charitable Association for Rehabilitation and Education
|Youth Service Centre||Bolangir||OR/104840041||0.146||Terre des hommes-Germany (via Pune)|
|Mahita||Chikkadapalli||AP/10230388||1.21||Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165), Catholic Children’s Movement of Austria (DKA)
CAF-India gets funds from CAF-UK and many multi-national companies
|Right Track||Kolkata||WB/147120516||0.933||Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), Action Aid (KA/94420006)|
|Aga Khan Foundation||Delhi||DL/231650072||84.4||Aga Khan Foundation-Switzerland, US and German Embassies in Delhi|
|Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Foundation)||Delhi||DL/231661122||0.001||–|
|Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL)||Network of NGOs||See Table-2||See Table-2|
|Centre for Budget and Government Accountability (CBGA)||Delhi||DL/231661020||3.06||Oxfam, Ford Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, Centre for Budget & Policy Priorities, Water Aid etc. ; CBGA is headed by Amitabh Behar.|
|Christian Aid||UK organization. Office in Delhi||Funds many FCRA-NGOs in India. Its UK office receives partial support from UK Government.|
|CRY-Child Rights and You||Mumbai||MH/83780207||9.00||Barclays, Microsoft, United Way, Charites Aid Foundation India, Aviva Life Insurance, Google, LG Software, CRY-UK, Goldman Sachs etc.|
|Empowerment for Rehabilitation, Academic & Health (EFRAH)||Delhi||DL/231660324||0.240||Oxfam, Room to Read (DL/231660864)|
|National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)||Delhi||Same address as Swadhikar (DL/231661023). NCDHR is in 2nd floor, Swadhikar is in 1st floor||3.67 (Swadhikar’s)||Swadhikar’s donors: Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development (CCFD),
Cordaid, Oxfam-India, Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), PACS-Poorest Area Civil Society (Delhi) (PACS is run by DFID-UK Government Org),
Christian Aid, Action Aid (DL/231661299), NEG-Fire (DL/231660941)
|National Confederation of Dalit Organizations (NACDOR)||Delhi||Founded by Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADM) in 2001. CADM is DL/231660383||3.50
|CADM’s donors: Oxfam, Karuna Trust-UK, Action Aid, Christian Aid, DFID Vodi-UK, PACS. Note: DFID stands for Department for International Development, an agency of the British Government.|
|National Coalition for Education (NCE)||Delhi||Same address as that of All India Primary Teachers’ Federation (DL/231660011)||2.07 (AIPTF’s in 2011-12)||AIPTF’s donors: Mostly from Teachers’ Associations in Canada, Sweden, Belgium etc.
Note on AIPTF: Member of Parliament, Jagdambika Pal is President. Reni Jacob who is the Director of Advocacy Projects, World Vision is a Trustee.
|National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Quality Education and Equity (NAFRE)||Delhi||Alliance of Child Rights and You (CRY) with 8 other NGOs;||Started in 2003-2004 by Sanjeev Kaura, who had also been part of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.|
|New Education Group Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education (NEG-FIRE)||Delhi||DL/231660941||5.01||Donors: Katholische Zentraistelle Fuer Entwicklungshilfe, Misereor, Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) (DL/231650067); IGSSS receives funds from Misereor, Dan Church Aid etc.;
Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (DL/231650220) is a founding member of NEG-FIRE. Another founding member is Conference of Religious India (DL/231650042) whose representatives Bro. Henriques & Sr. Rodrigues are part of NEG-FIRE.
MISEREOR is the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation.
|Room To Read||Delhi||DL/231660864||27.3||Room To Read-US, Australia, Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165)|
|Society for All Round Development (SARD)||Sirohi||RJ/125660005||0.00||Not much funds|
|Voluntary Service Overseas India Trust||Delhi||DL/231661372||0.77 (in 2013-14)||Donors: Voluntary Service Overseas-UK (Charity No. 313757). See extract from its UK office’s Annual report below.|
|Wada Na todo Abhiyan||Delhi||A conglomerate||Convened by Amitabh Behar, it is a network of NGOs (mostly FCRA-ed) which purportedly acts as a watchdog on Government in its promises. One of its Campaign Group members is World Vision’s Advocacy Director, Reni Jacob|
|World Vision India||Chennai||TN/75900011||251.2||World Vision International offices|
|Welthungerhilfe||Germany||–||–||Stands for “World Hunger Aid”. Supports many FCRA-NGOs in India. Many elite elected officials and politicians of Germany have been part of it.|
|Child Fund International||Bengaluru||KA/94420147||58.2||Previous name: “Christian Child Fund”. Donor is CFI-USA|
|CARE India Solutions for Sustainable Development||Delhi||DL/231661331||65.7 (in 2013-14)||Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165), British High Commission, Care International, UPS Foundation, Barclays Bank, Cairn India, BBC Media Action etc.|
|Council for Social Development||Delhi||DL/231650559||1.00||York University, Ford Foundation, Oxfam, IDRC-Canada, Action Aid, HIVOS etc.|
|Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC)||Madurai||TN/75940138||1.98||Tides Foundation, Ford Foundation, Misereor, Banyan Tree Foundation, Dan Church Aid, HIVOS etc.; CPSC is usually referred to in mainstream media as “People’s Watch” NGO.|
|Centre for Civil Society (CCS)b||Delhi||DL/231660123||2.72||CCS’ donors: Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165), Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Foundation Open Society Institute-Zug (associated with George Soros) etc.;
Along with Central Square Foundation (not FCRA-ed), Delhi, CCS runs an entity called RTE Platform.
|Divya Disha||Hyderabad||AP/10230610||0.507||PLAN (DL/231660122), BVLF-Netherlands|
|Mumidipudi Venkatarangaiya Foundation||Secunderabad||AP/10230319||2.81||HIVOS, Kinderpostzegels-Netherland, Broadridge Foundation-USA, Action Aid (KA/94420006), Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165)|
|Montfort Social Institute||Hyderabad||AP/10220172||1.06||Action Aid, Rosa-Germany, Ford Foundation, Caritas|
aBVLF-Ullash is listed as a member of RTE Forum India. However, BVLF is a non-profit Organization in Netherlands and stands for Bernard van Leer Foundation. FCRA records demonstrate that BVLF remits money to Youth for Social Development (YSD), Berhampur (OR/104910159). Hence, it is surmised that BVLF-Ullash on RTEF’s website actually means YSD.
bCCS does not figure in any of the linked documents 5-8 used in Table-1. It has been included in Table 1 due to its association with righttoeducation.in
Table-2: Constituent NGOs of CACL, which is part of RTEF-India
|Name||Registered Location||FCRA Reg. No.||Foreign funds 2012 (Rs. Crore)||Chief Donor(s)|
|Sadhana||Hyderabad||AP/10230525||1.10||Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), PLAN (DL/231660122), NEG-FIRE (DL/231660941)|
|AV Baliga Memorial Trust||Delhi||DL/231650897||2.39||PLAN (DL/231660122), Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869), etc.|
|Shaishav||Bhavnagar||GJ/41980028||0.881||Share & Care-USA, Paul Hamlyn Foundation-UK|
|Human Education & Action for Liberation (HEAL Movement)||Nagarkovil||TN/75890115||0.067||AJWS-US (American Jewish World Service?), Manos Unidas-Spain etc.|
|Sampurna Gram Vikas Kendra||Palamu||JH/337790019||0.707||Welthungerhilfe-Germany, Christian Aid-UK|
|Mayurbhanj Joint Citizen Centre||Kolkata||WB/147120526||0.000||–|
|Aman||Almora||UK/347860016||0.258||Indian Social Action Forum, INSAF (DL/231660846)|
|Impulse NGO Network||Shillong||ML/214250081||0.182||Association for Democratic Reform (GJ/41910350), WCD Ministry, Government of India|
The NGO Consortium in Uttar Pradesh (UP) working on RTE advocacy is called SCORE, which stands for State Collective for Right to Education. Details of individual NGOs (many of whom are foreign funded) which are part of SCORE have also been included in Table-1 above.
On the other hand, the other consortium, the All India Forum for RTE (aifrte.in) appears to be more of a leftist alliance. Many of its members are academicians in history or sociology departments of Universities in India. They appear to oppose the current RTE and demand free education for all to be delivered by the Government. Individual member organizations which constitute AIFRTE are not available in the public domain. Hence, whether they are foreign funded or no is a moot question.
The following are NGOs which were also listed in the primary sources (5 to 10) above, but which appear not to be foreign funded: APR (unclear what the acronym stands for), AarthAstha, and People’s Campaign for a Common School System.
So what can we infer from these lists?
- Foreign money for RTE advocacy: The aforementioned compilation makes it clear that NGOs which advocate RTE and operate as vigilante groups in its implementation are predominantly foreign funded. Thus, they are not just NGOs. They are FCRA-NGOs.
- Funds from Foreign Government Agencies: Several of the above foreign multinational “charities” receive substantial funds from foreign governments. We cite a few here:
- Christian Aid receives grants from the British Government via its Department for International Development (DFID), ref: Charity No. 1105851, page 59 of its Annual Report).
- World Vision gets funding from the US Federal Government (See page 9 of their Form-990).
- Save The Children Federation (EIN=06-0726487) too, gets US Federal Government funding (See page 9 of their Form-990).
- As can be seen in the Table above, DFID which is an agency of the UK Government directly funds several FCRA-NGOs working on RTE matters.
- PLAN International UK (Charity No. 276035; see page 45 of their Annual Report) receives substantial funding from DFID as well.
- Oxfam-UK too receives funding from DFID (Charity No. 202918; see page 44 of their Annual Report).
- So does Voluntary Service Overseas-UK (Charity No.: 313757).
- Hypocrisy: Given that RTE advocacy is bankrolled by foreign funding, we can raise this legitimate question: would these foreign “non-profit” organizations, foreign governments, foreign citizen donors and foreign multinational companies permit such sectarian and intrusive laws in their own countries? Specifically, we can address our question directly to the entities in the following countries (in the order as they appear): United Kingdom, United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany, and The Netherlands.
- RTE, a“Secular” Project: One also notices that“secular” organizations run/established by the Church (both abroad, such as Misereor or Christian Aid and in India such as NEG-Fire) are involved in funding and promoting RTE. Their RTE advocacy is, to put it mildly, strange as they themselves are RTE-immune. It thus appears that “what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander”.
- Power and Penetration: To illustrate the penetration and power of foreign “non-profit” organizations in India, let us consider the Annual Report of the UK “charity” “Voluntary Service Overseas” (Charity No.: 313757). On page 12 of its 2012-13 Annual Report (see Figures 1 and 2), it says that it “supports a youth organization, JOSH to monitor the implementation of the Right to Education Act in Delhi”. JOSH stands for “Joint Operation for Social Help”. JOSH is not FCRA registered as far as our research could reveal. Yet, VSO-UK says that it supported JOSH’s work in India.
On page 20 of its 2013-14 Annual Report, VSO-UK says that “the Government in Rajasthan has reopened eight schools after 10,000 parents, children, teachers and community representatives took part in public meetings supported by VSO (UK) on the Right To Education Act.”
It may be easy for a reader to dismiss organizations such as JOSH as ignorable. India can do that at its own peril.
JOSH, along with NCPCR, Government of India (!) held a public hearing on violations of RTE by schools (presumably Hindu-run ones, as others are RTE-immune anyway) in Delhi in 2011.
Read this Press Release on the same by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Common Donors: Even a cursory examination of the last column in the above Tables reveals a few common names of donors: Charities Aid Foundation, Christian Aid, Bal Raksha Bharat (alias: Save the Children), PLAN and Oxfam.
- Charities Aid Foundation (DL/231660165) receives funding from its UK headquarters (Charity No.: 268369) and from many multinational companies in India such as Microsoft Corporation India, Accenture Services, Canon India, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, DE Shaw India Software. It received Rs. 7.9 Crore foreign funds in 2012-13. CAF-UK’s Patron is the Duke of Edinburgh. Chew on that.
- Christian Aid is a “charity” based in UK (Charity No: 1105851). Although it does not appear to have a FCRA-ed entity within India, it has recently established a wholly owned subsidiary, Sec. 25 company named Change Alliance, which, among other services, offers “advice and tailored management support and services on corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.” Strangely, a FCRA-NGO, Delhi Samajik Vikas Kendra (DL/231650085) also operates from the same address as Change Alliance (D-25/D, South Extension Part-II, Delhi-110048).
- Bal Raksha Bharat (DL/231660869) is allied to its international offices which are called “Save the Children”. The last FC6 return it filed is for the year 2011-12 (although every FCRA-NGO has to file this return by December of every year). Its foreign funding (Rs. 81.3 Crore in 2011) is primarily from its UK and USA offices.
- PLAN is a major International “non-profit” organization. PLAN-India gets huge funding from PLAN-UK. PLAN-UK’s Ambassador is Leslee Udwin, the maker of the racist documentary, “India’s Daughter.” Enough said.
- Oxfam is a large international “non-profit” organization. On page 44 of its 2013-14 Annual Report submitted to the UK Government (see Figure 3), it mentions that it spent GBP 6,65,000 on BRICSAM countries to “empower their civil society organizations”. On page 26 of the same Annual Report, it lists “changes brought about by shifts in world power and financial infrastructure” as an identified Risk to Oxfam-UK. It further adds that the Oxfam-UK Management acted on this Risk by “coordinated advocacy efforts in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and Mexico” and imparted “advocacy training in influential countries”. That should ring alarm bells in the corridors of the Indian Government.
So which country spends the most on RTE advocacy in India?
Here is an interesting analysis that we can do.
The Tables above provide details of 48 FCRA-NGOs [Data from World Vision of India (TN/75900011) is not included in this analysis]. The IndiaFacts research team analysed all their FC6 returns for the country from which the funds originated.
For the sake of reference (or a benchmark), we have also analysed data for the country of fund origin of all FC6 returns (approximately, 20,000 FCRA-NGOs) for the year 2012-13. The following Table summarizes the results (in Rs. Crore) for the four chief fund origin countries.
Table-3: Analysis Of Country Of Fund Origin For RTE-Advocating FCRA-NGOs (Caveat: Not all the money received is used for RTE advocacy)
|Country of Fund Origin||Total Funds sent to the 48 FCRA-NGOs which do RTE advocacy (Rs. Crore)||Total Funds from the country to all FCRA-NGOs in India (Rs. Crore)||Percentage of funds from the country which comes to Indian FCRA-NGOs who carry out RTE advocacy|
|United Kingdom (UK)||181||1127||16|
|United States of America (USA)||121||3994||3.0|
|Federal Republic of Germany (DE)||27||1143||2.4|
|The Netherlands (NL)||30||402||7.5|
Although The Netherlands’ percentage (7.5%) to RTE advocating FCRA-NGOs is significant, its overall funding is just 30 Crore and thus does not matter as much as that of UK’s. It is clear that the UK is the major supplier of funds to FCRA-NGOs which advocate and monitor the implementation of RTE in India.
One may think that the result is skewed due to the inclusion of Oxfam India Trust, Plan International. (India Chapter) and Charities Aid Foundation (India) which happen to be FCRA-NGOs themselves (unlike Christian Aid).
Even if one removes the inflow of UK funds into these three FCRA-NGOs, the total inflow from UK to the other RTE-advocating FCRA-NGOs is 133 Crore, which still amounts to 12% of the total inflow from UK in 2012-13.
Consider this: Around 10-15% of funds originating from the UK end up with FCRA-NGOs which advocate RTE. We reiterate that not all the money received by these FCRA-NGOs is used for RTE advocacy.
Yet, this percentage from UK is non-trivially large.
- “Non-profit” organizations based in United Kingdom contribute the largest funding to Indian FCRA-NGOs which advocate the sectarian RTE Act and act as vigilante organizations in its implementation. Given that RTE squeezes out Hindus from establishing and running schools, one wonders what the larger mandate of these foreign NGOs are.
- National Sovereignty: Given that many of these foreign “civil society” organizations receive support from their local Governments, and given that these organizations fund Indian NGOs specifically for advocacy work, one cannot but help wonder whose mandates are being served by the Indian FCRA-NGOs. Is the strict implementation of a sectarian law such as RTE funded by foreign Governments, albeit indirectly? Or, to put it bluntly, are we still subjects of the Empire?
Nearly all NGOs which advocate and oversee the implementation of the Hindu-targetted Right to Education Act are foreign funded. The United Kingdom appears to be the chief source of such funds.
In light of these appalling, documented revelations, we can conclude that the ball is now the Indian Government’s court.