New Delhi: Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah on Wednesday underlined the role of NGOs in ensuring effective implementation of public welfare schemes at the grassroot level and said that collaboration between government and such agencies can bring about change in the society.
She said the implementation of government schemes and enforcement of laws could only be possible if the NGOs and civil society organisations work together with the government.
"I agree that we have made stringent laws but government agencies cannot go everywhere, to every individual's door. NGOs play a big role and I have always emphasised the role of NGOs," she said.
The Minister's comments comes days after the controversial offloading of environmental NGO Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai from a London-bound plane.
"When I was the deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha I used to say that if the NGOs, civil society and Parliament members work together we can bring change in the society," she said during an event of the 'Action/2015' campaign organised by an international pressure group working against extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.
Heptullah further added that the NGOs, which have "grassroot connection", can help the government in identifying the gaps coming in the way of the implementation of government schemes.
"While the government launches several programmes for development, the most important task is to ensure the delivery of the schemes to people. And this is where the NGOs help because they have connection at the grassroot level.
"They can let the government know whether its schemes have reached the people or not so that government can take corrective measures. It is critical that through support from NGOs and civil society we are able to identify the gaps to ensure their effective implementation," she said.
The event was part of the action/2015 campaign, a
grouping of several organisations from all over the world with an agenda to influence the outcome of the scheduled UN Climate Summit and Development Summit to be held this year.
The latter will decide on the post-2015 development agenda with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concluding at the end of 2015.
Speaking on the progress of MDGs in India, Heptullah said that although the government is still evaluating the progress made on that front, it is on the right track.
"The government is still evaluating how far we have progressed in terms of the Millennium Development Goals. But the Prime Minister spoke about poverty, cleanliness, environment at the United Nations. So I think this government is on the right track," she said.
The event was also attended by Amitabh Behar from Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, Save The Children Advocacy Director Shireen Vakil Miller and Editor-at-large, India Today Kaveree Bamzai.
"With two summits of this importance within just months of each other, 2015 could be one of the most important years for our planet since the end of the Second World War, but only if we rise to the occasion," Behar said.