Presidential Grants to SONGOs to be cut?
The Russian Federation’s Parliamentary Committee for the Development of Civil Society and Public and Religious Associations, together with the CEO of the Presidential Grants Fund, have come out against a proposal to reduce State support for NGOs.
According to the Committee, a draft Bill on the Federal Budget for 2018 and the 2019 and 2020 Planning Round includes a provision for a 43% cut in funding for the Improving the effectiveness of State support to SONGOs sub-programme compared to 2017 (It is being suggested that 391,300,000 roubles be set aside to implement the sub-programme during 2018 compared to this year’s figure of 896,200,000).
The Bill additionally proposes to reduce the amount of Presidential Grants allocated to NGOs by 41.5% (4,105,900 in 2018 compared to 7,016,800 roubles this year). This near 3,000,000 roubles reduction relates to the allocation in 2017 of additional resources for non-profit NGOs involved in the development of civil society institutions, the Duma Committee says.
Sergey Gavrilov, Chair of the Duma Committee, has said that the proposed cut in the sub-programme’s funding runs counter to Government policy designed to make optimum use of the positive potential of the third sector in socially important areas of public life linked to the universal goal of maintaining and developing civil society institutions. Members of the Duma Committee have unanimously voted against both these proposals.
Ilya Chukalin, CEO of the Presidential Grants Fund, has spoken out in favour of maintaining the existing level of Presidential Grants. By so doing, he says, we will be able to support the current growth of NGO activity in healthcare, education, science and social support.
The Parliamentary Committee has recommended that the State Duma adopt the Federal Budget Bill at First Reading but, at the same time, stressed the need for the amount of 2018 federal financial support to SONGOs to be raised to at least this year’s level.
Grants to NGOs are now allocated by the Presidential Grants Fund in consultation with a Coordinating Committee, with the number of competitions limited to two a year. The competition organisers announced the winners of this year’s first contest at the end of July. 83% of those on the winners’ list had never received this type of funding before. More than 2.2 billion roubles were allocated among 970 organisations (the average approved grant sum was around 2.3 million roubles). The second Grants competition has received 9,543 applications, with more than 4.5 billion roubles to be distributed among successful NGOs.