Q.1 With respect to corruption in the selection of NGOs, how does NACO ensure that bonafide NGOs are given work?
Ans: NACO has a very transparent procedure of inviting NGO proposals. Proposals are invited through newspaper advertisements, which are screened by a Technical Advisory Committee which has members from the NGO community. Blacklisted NGOs are kept out and only those with proven track records are considered. Apart from verification of documents submitted, every NGO is physically verified for nature of work and presence in the target community. The final selection is done by the Executive Committee of the SACS, which is headed by the Secretary (Health).

Q.2 What are the possible advantages?
Ans: NACO has a well laid out monitoring and evaluation system which operates at all stages of NGO functioning. Minimum quality standards are set and necessary capacity building done to ensure compliance. Apart from an internal process of evaluation within the NGO, timely reports are received from them in desired formats. Periodic field visits by SACS officials, in teams that also have NGO workers from other NGOs ensure the veracity of the self reports of NGOs. The NGOs have to provide audited statement of accounts for previous money received to ensure receipt of future installments. Every third year the NGO performance is evaluated by an external agency.

Q.3 Why is NGO work mostly restricted to Targeted Interventions? Doesn’t it lead to identification of High Risk Groups and further stigmatisation?
Ans: Targeted Intervention is a very important strategy of NACP- II to check the spread of HIV. It is a fact that certain groups of people, known to practice high risk behaviour are more likely to carry the virus than others. Groups like the CSWs, IDU, Truckers, Migrants, etc. are also the most marginalised in the society. These groups do not need half baked interventions where one just tells them about behaviour change. BCC is important but that should be accompanied by services like STD treatment, condom provision, creation of enabling environment etc. All these are essential components of NACO’s TIs. It is felt that once these groups are approached in the right spirit, they are more likely to come out of their shell and join the mainstream and thereby be less stigmatised.

Q.4 Many NGOs are harassed for their activities. What does NACO do about it?
Ans: NGOs are normally harassed by police personnel. This is true mostly in states where adequate efforts to sensitise the law and order machinery are not being made. Although NACO has equivocally condemned all such instances of excesses by certain authorities, it is not in a position to become a supercop. NACO on its part has worked out elaborate plans for a sustained advocacy initiative with police personnel at all levels. Efforts are also on to see if relevant provisions of the IPC can be modified in the context of today’s requirements.

Q.5 What does NACO do about regional disparities in the number of NGOs operating?
Ans: The NGO movement is operating at different levels in different states. While some states have a committed group of NGOs the others have few credible NGOs to talk of. States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand etc. have a few NGOs and these organisations by and large are not perceived to be credible. The task is challenging and complex. The process is ongoing. Capacity building of NGOs is one activity that is to be done vigorously. The state governments are also expected to provide an environment that builds trust between the government and the civil society and ensures long term partnerships.