Ahmedabad: In a bid to tighten noose around bogus trusts and non-government organizations working in the religious, social and cultural sphere, the Gujarat government has prepared a Bill and sent it to Governor Dr Kamla for her approval.

A group of Cabinet ministers and higher authorities led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi has prepared the draft bill.

The Bill aims at keeping a tab on the finances of NGOs and trusts.

The bill provides for a fine of Rs 1,000 to 10,000 on such trusts and three years imprisonment if found guilty.

However, the government’s move has started raising hackles of the trustees. Irked over several provisions made in the bill, the trustees have been opposing the bill.

One of the reasons for the protest is the provision of fine. According to tax consultant Ajeet Shah, several conditions in the draft bill are impractical. On the issue of preparing annual budget of the trust and handing it to charity commissioner, Shah says, “When there is no set limit for receiving donations by any organization, how can it be possible to maintain a budget for the incoming funds?”

In addition to it, provision of merging a trust with other institutions is also the subject of disagreement. Besides, the acquisition of the immovable assets left unused for ten years by the government has also become a contentious issue. There is strong resentment over the provision related to the submission of quarterly reports by the trusts.

Modi government’s decision has invited political reactions too. The Gujarat Congress has asked the state government to rationalize the Bill.

“The law must be equal for all. When money is directly raised from the private companies during public functions on the behest of the government, raising fingers on other institutions is baseless,” said Congress State GeneralSecretary Nishit Vyas while taking a dig at the Modi government.

“After thorough enquiry, the government should categorize different organizations. Thereafter, it should decide which of the trust is running for personal interest and which is running for the interest of the society,” he added.

JPN/Bureau