Working Group on NGOs defines ‘privileged’ NGOs

The working group on NGOs under the Presidential Administration has defined NGOs with “increased advantages”

20 November 2015

NGOs which provide help, as specified in the legislative list of social services, will receive advantages and preferences.

The working group on developing proposals for the additional regulation of the activity of socially oriented NGOs (SONGOs) has formulated an amendment to the law on NGOs, according to Kommersant, which cited a source from the Presidential Administration. Experts defined the criteria for NGOs which will receive tax breaks and access to governmental funding. The working group has now started working on clarifying the concept of “political activities” in the law on “foreign agents”.

Earlier, President Vladimir Putin called for support for NGOs who are able to help to solve the problems faced by the state and municipal authorities and for their open access to government funding. He highlighted that NGOs often understand the needs of the people better than state or municipal structures and react effectively to their problems. Putin has suggested to separate out a special group of SONGOs to be given access to financial resources which are allocated by the state for social purposes.

The working group under the Presidential Administration suggests that incentives and access to government funding are offered to NGOs which provide citizens with social services, which are listed in the regulations. Experts have agreed to follow the law on “the foundations of social services”. In this document, in particular, it is written that “social service” is the «the act of providing continuous, periodic, one-time or emergency assistance to a citizen in order to improve the conditions of their life».

Elena Topoleva, member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, who is part of the working group, declared that the scope and activities of SONGOs are more wide ranging than the scope of institutionalised social services. She offered the “Fair Aid” foundation as an example. This rescues ill and injured children from conflict zones in South-Eastern Ukraine and helps them to get quality medical help. She explained that the official list of social services does not include this foundation, which means they may be left without preferences.

Earlier, Topoleva suggested that they create a mechanism for the provision of non-competitive support for organisations which have proven their professionalism and efficiency. She said that such organisations appear either where the response of the state is too slow or where the authorities simply do not lend a hand.

Author: Grigory Ivanushkin

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