Information point for state-aided NGOs?
Russian Federation’s Ministry of Economic
Development considers single information point essential for NGOs in receipt of
national conference was held at the federal public chamber on the above date on
the theme, Legal Support for Civil Society and Charity: Legislation and
Judicial Practice. The event was organised by the chair of the federal
council’s co-ordinating body for co-operation with the institutions of civil
society, the public chamber’s committee for the development of charity and
volunteering and the not-for-profit partnership, Lawyers for Civil Society
(LCS) in conjunction with the local branch of the international centre of
non-commercial law (ICNL).
looked at the issues like that of lowering the taxes imposed on NGOs, and
essential measures for providing legal support for the development of the
volunteer movement in Russia and so forth. Speaking at the plenary session,
Darya Miloslavskaya, member of the public chamber, director of the ICNL’s local
branch and chair of the council of LCS, made it clear that legal support for
civil society did not involve regulating the activities of NGOs alone but also
adopting a consistent approach towards law implementation.
Chukalin, deputy director of the federal ministry of economic development’s
strategic programming and budgeting department, spoke about financial support
for the activities of socially oriented NGOs.
According to information in his possession, the volume of resources set
aside for this purpose was increasing every year. Thus, the amount made
available in 2012 was 5.2 billion roubles, increased from 3.8 billion roubles
in 2010. He observed, however, that a significant part of this money was
already spoken for. For instance, the Fund for the Support of Children in
Serious Difficulties receives one billion roubles. Only a total of 93 million
roubles was available for distribution amongst NGOs on a competitive basis. The
ministry had worked up a draft order concerning support for the property
requirements of socially oriented NGOs. This allows NGOs to occupy premises
free of charge or to rent them at a concessionary rate for up to five years.
The draft has been made available on the Web and the ministry is open to
receiving suggestions from NGOs.
the longer term the ministry plans to create a single point of information
facility dedicated to the activities of socially oriented NGOs in receipt of
government support. Mr Chukalin
explained that it was not easy currently to know which organisations
received a grant and in what amount. To
deal with that aspect, it would be necessary to collect information from
from the LCS had conducted a survey concerning issues of registration of NGOs
by the ministry of justice. 600 NGOs from 37 regions that had submitted papers
for registration by the ministry over
the past three years took part. The respondents said that they had used information from the
ministry’s official site when drafting their application. However, a
significant number of the respondents had needed to consult lawyers as well.
The majority of the NGOs had not submitted their applications by post but had
gone to see ministry specialists personally. Seven percent of these had queued
up for over an hour to do so. 9% had not succeeded in submitting correct
documentation at the first attempt. They either failed to prepare it correctly
or did not submit all the required information. In the Stavropolsky region 11
out of 20 NGOs submitted documents 7
times. 60% of NGOs did further work on their applications, several of them
(17%) 3 or more times. On top of that they had to pay fees on each occasion.
However, 80%of respondents experienced the ministry of justice staff as being
well disposed towards them.