Patnaik action calls for a round of applause, as Odisha steps in with aid to Missionaries of Charity

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik sanctioning Rs 78.76 lakh from the CM’s Relief Fund to institutions run by Missionaries of Charity comes as a relief

The Union Home Ministry’s Christmas day decision to reject a request from the renowned Missionaries of Charity to receive funds from donors abroad had come as a bolt to all who knew the charity organisation that has been functioning in India since very long. All who are familiar with the organisation founded by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa would agree that it has been working towards wiping tears of the hapless and abandoned.

But then, when the Home Ministry rejected the request, the Missionaries of Charity was left with no other option but to hope for a reversal in decision at the Union government level. That was not to come by, though. The Ministry’s stance was that non-profits, if they are to use such funds, would have to get clearance under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, or FCRA. It is a known fact that the plea by the Missionaries of Charity to renew licence in this regard had also been rejected.

Patnaik intervenes to help charity

Though based in Kolkata, West Bengal, the organisation has found a helping hand from neighbouring Odisha. The philanthropic non-profit body operates a good number of leprosy homes and orphanages in the state. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s office has announced that an amount of Rs 78.76 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to as many as 13 institutions run by the charity in the state of Odisha.

With Naveen Patnaik’s decision to extend a helping hand to Missionaries of Charity, the state funds will flow into 13 institutions run by the charity in eight districts across the state. These 13 institutions have been caring for close to 1000 people who have no one but the charity organisation’s volunteers to look after them.

The decision by the Odisha Chief Minister comes across as a whiff of soothing air to the non-profit charity body that have been relying on donations to keep their work going. Patnaik’s statement directing the “District Collectors to be in regular touch with organisations run by the Missionaries of Charity in Odisha” is a step towards making sure that the hapless souls under the care of the charity body live on.

Patnaik has proved to be an example in a crowd of state chief ministers, in both BJP and non-BJP ruled states. Ensuring that no one in the 13 institutions run by the charity body would face food security and health related hassles anymore is a noble decision, to say the least.

The Odisha CM’s statement has also directed the official machinery to release funds from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for use at these charity institutions whenever needed.

The Patnaik government in Odisha needs a good round of applause for stepping in with aid at the most significant phase of the Missionaries of Charity’s operations in India. By do so, Naveen Patnaik has not only cemented the trust people have in him, but also proved why such actions are a welcome change in a country whose secular fabric has seen much damage.

Secular, humanitarian credentials intact as Odisha CM acts

The existence of a truly secular Indian state and Chief Minister who practices the ideals of secularism gives much hope to the people who have been pinned down by fear and faith-based partiality practiced by the powers that be.

The rejection of the request to accept donations from overseas had already created a furore among many activists across the country. For, Missionaries of Charity has always had a prime place of respect among the people who have tried to learn more about it. The work the charity organisation founded by none other than Mother Teresa being rebuked is a shame.

The quantum of noble work that is undertaken at the philanthropic body’s various centres across the nation calls for applause, not ridicule. And yet, it has been on the receiving end of all negative publicity orchestrated by the groups that see everything, even philanthropy, through the lens of religion.

Naveen Patnaik stands tall, no doubt, with the gesture that has come at the right moment.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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