Centre's decision to restrict flow of foreign funds would severely affect the ongoing humanitarian work: Oxfam India

By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: Oxfam India has said that the Centre’s decision to restrict the flow of foreign funds would severely affect the ongoing humanitarian work of setting up oxygen plants, delivering lifesaving equipment to hospitals and strengthening health workers amid the scare of Omicron variant of coronavirus.

As reported earlier, Missionaries of Charity, Oxfam India, IIT Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia, Indian Medical Association and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library are among nearly 6,000 entities whose FCRA registration deemed to have ceased on Saturday.

As per the list released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 1, 2022, Oxfam India’s FCRA registration renewal request has been denied which means that Oxfam India will not be able to receive foreign funds for any of its work in India from January 1, 2022.

In a statement, Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India claimed, “Oxfam India has been working in public interest with the government, communities and frontline workers in the country for decades now. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxfam India joined hands with health departments, district administrations and ASHA workers across the nation to provide life-saving equipment and support. We are also working with various state governments to ensure bridging of the learning gap in school education due to COVID-19. We have worked to enhance women livelihood and worked with forest dwellers to ensure that they are not denied their rights. We have worked in some of the most flood-prone districts to make communities resilient and provide a lasting solution. The Ministry of Home Affairs decision to deny renewal of FCRA registration will severely hamper these collaborations which were providing relief to those who needed it the most during times of crisis”

COVID-19 Response by Oxfam India

This development severely hampers Oxfam India’s COVID-19 response ‘Mission Sanjeevani’ which is one of the largest among NGOs in India. Under the initiative, Oxfam India provided 6 Oxygen generating plants and distributed over 13,388 lifesaving medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, BiPAP Machines, concentrators, and ventilators, over 116,957 safety and PPE kits, over 9929 diagnostic equipment such as thermometers and oximeters, and 20,000 testing kits in 16 states. The movement reached to over 141 district-level hospitals, 171 Primary Health Centres, and 167 Community Health Centres.

“We trained and provided safety kit to over 48,000 ASHA workers in 9 states, who are the backbone of the primary healthcare system. We have delivered food ration to over 5.76 lakh people. And made cash transfers to over 10,000 people to the tune of INR 3.53 Crores to help them with their immediate needs during the pandemic,” the statement sai adding,  these include helping the most vulnerable communities including transgenders, sex workers, miners, rag pickers, cancer survivors, survivors of domestic violence, weavers, fisherfolk, construction workers, and those affected by floods and cyclones. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As India stares at a possible third wave due to the Omicron variant, the restrictions on accessing funds will hamper our efforts to provide support in strengthening the public healthcare system.

Since March 2020, Oxfam India was at the forefront whenever Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon NGOs and civil society to join the fight against COVID-19 by helping government to strengthen health services and accelerate pace of vaccination drive. The Supreme Court  also acknowledged the contribution of NGOs in providing relief during the pandemic.

Rapid Response to Natural Disasters and Crisis

According to the statement, Oxfam India’s humanitarian team has been one of the first to respond to cyclone, floods, landslides, and earthquakes. This year we reached out to over 8000 people in Assam, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal. Since 2008, Oxfam India has provided relief to lakhs of people through its disaster relief response. This includes crucial food aid, water, hygiene kits, shelter kits and lifesaving equipment.