Former New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand has been selected to serve on the board of a prestigious foundation which will oversee and co-ordinate social entrepreneurship and philanthropy to supplement India’s development efforts.
Sir Anand will be one of 12 people from around the world to serve on the board of the Indian Development Foundation for Overseas Indians (IDF-OI).
The Foundation was announced recently by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), through its minister, Vayalar Ravi.
The organisation will serve as a single window for overseas Indian philanthropy in India.
In Auckland this week, Sir Anand expressed delight at being asked and said that “it was a plus for New Zealand that the Indian Government should choose someone from our country to participate in such a broad project”.
“It was good evidence of the wish of India to maintain strong links of friendship with New Zealand in particular,” Sir Anand said. The first meeting of the board, headed by senior public service official Gollerkeri Gurucharan, will be held in New Delhi in September.
Sir Anand said he looked forward to the meetings and that he imagined the remit would include matters involving investment of funds, encouragement of tourism, the maintenance of familial linkages and the furtherance of cultural activities.
The trust will be managed at arm’s length by the Board of Governors.
It is hoped that the Foundation will provide a platform for some 27 million people of Indian origin living in 189 countries with an avenue to engage in social entrepreneurship and philanthropy to supplement India’s development efforts, a MOIA statement said.
“The kinds of things which might merit attention include the cause of education, health and rural development In countries where there is a large Indian population such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany for example the IDF OI will be registered as a not- for profit charity.
The objective of the foundation is to facilitate philanthropic activities by Overseas Indians through innovative projects and instruments such as micro credit for rural entrepreneurs, self- help groups for economic empowerment of women, best practice interventions in primary education and technology interventions in rural health care delivery. The trust is exempt from the provisions of Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) under Section 31 of the Act.
The Foundation will subject all philanthropic activities to International Accounting Standards and through objective criteria encourage credible partnerships with national and international level non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for effective project implementation across causes and geographies in India.
IDF-OI will be a credible mediating link, at one hand providing complete support to the philanthropist in fulfilling his philanthropic purpose of contributing towards the cause close to his/her heart, while at the same time overseeing the implementation of the project along with ensuring timely back reporting and accountability.
The setting up of the foundation followed a speech in January 2008 by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, where the proposal was outlined.