Citizens' Issues
Sindhutai Sapkal: Maharashtra has no funds for orphanages, but attempts to orphan the ‘Mother of Orphans’
Consider the rude joke played on renowned social reformer Sindhutai Sapkal, whose grand family comprises 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over 1,000 grandchildren – all nurtured by her in her orphanages. Many of them are well-educated lawyers and doctors and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanage.
 
2010: The Government of Maharashtra honours Sindhutai Sapkal with the prestigious Ahilyabai Holkar Award, which is given for outstanding work in the field of woman and child welfare. Obviously, the government could not have given it to someone who runs an illegal entity.
 
2016: The Maharashtra Department of Women and Child Development (WCD), pressures Sapkal to oust orphans residing in her Sanmati Bal Niketan and hand them over to the department to rehabilitate them to government orphanages. Reason? Because Sanmati Bal Niketan is not registered with WCD and hence, is being considered as an illegal entity. This, despite Sapkal running from pillar to post, since 2011, in order to have the institution registered. 
 
Firstly, if it is illegal, why did the state government give such a prestigious award to Sapkal? Also, to be noted is the fact that, Sapkal has been felicitated by three Presidents of India. So, aptly did she say at a function held by Moneylife Foundation this year on Women’s International Day that, “Despite all the awards (750 and more) and travelling across regions and even to the US, I am still a beggar (none of her orphanages receive any grant from the government). Earlier, my singing used to provide me with food. Today, my speeches give us our food. पहले गाना था तो खाना मिलता था, अब भाषण है तो राशन है.’’
 
Secondly, recently in the WCD committee meeting in Aurangabad, its minister, Pankaja Munde did not take any decision on the financial grant of Rs200 crore, for meals for the 150-odd government orphanages in Maharashtra, due to alleged lack of funds. This has sent nervous signals across orphanages in the state. So, does it have the right to destroy someone’s efforts in nurturing orphans by being self-sufficient?
 
Thirdly, the State Government has stringent norms regarding the capacity of orphanages. This means that there are thousands of orphans who cannot get admission into them. So, when `Mai’ Sapkal has taken up this responsibility with credibility, why has the government woken up now suddenly to destroy her work?
 
Fourthly, the WCD officials have sent her a notice, because she has not registered with it. Did WCD officials suddenly realise that an individual cannot run an orphanage as that would lead to other individuals asking for the same? Well, the government keeps making ‘exceptions’ so isn’t there a difference between Sapkal knocking at the state government’s door since 2011, seeking registration for her orphanage and some other Tom, Dick or Harry asking for the same? 
 
Fifthly, is the Women’s and Child Department of Maharashtra Government, under its minister, Pankaja Munde, so insensitive and callous that it is so disrespectful to one of the stalwart social reformers of our times, so as to treat her as a criminal, for no fault of hers but for its own criminal negligence in not attending to her plea for registration of her orphanage?
 
Vijay Kumbhar, noted Right to Information (RTI) activist and one who has closely studied the issue of orphanages in Maharashtra, says, “What right does the state government have to treat a respectful social reformer like Sindhutai in such a humiliating manner, when it cannot grant even Rs200 crore to serve food to orphans in its own 150 orphanages? There have been various instances when ‘special’ status has been granted. Isn’t Sindhutai’s work revolutionary enough to grant her not only recognition but financial aid as well? It is unfortunate that the Department for Women and Child has always had insensitive ministers and officials. It is a real tragedy and a shame on the present government.”
 
Sindhutai's story is one of incredible grit and determination to fight adversity. At the age of 20, when she was nine months pregnant, she was kicked, beaten and left to die in a cowshed. Her daughter was born in that semi-conscious stage and she cut the umbilical cord herself and went away with her daughter to try and stay alive. The beauty of Sindhutai Sapkal's life story is that she went on to build multiple orphanages and nurture over 1,000 children and give shelter to innumerable women, who are destitute and abandoned.
 
At the Moneylife Foundation function in Pune, Sindhutai also shared her experience of giving up her own daughter to an orphanage so that she could remain fair to all the other orphans she adopted over the years. What is clear in her talk is her indomitable spirit, extraordinary courage and high intelligence, combined with street-smartness.  
 
“I have experienced what it feels like to have no one with you, no place to go, no shelter and no food to eat for days. My small work makes me feel like someone is helping me heal my own wounds. So all wounds heal with time, but you must live, stay alive for others” she had said.
Stung by this move by the WCD, Vinay Sapkal, who has been with Mai since he was two months old and now manages all her work, pens down the pain caused to them, due to the insensitivity of the state government. He writes:
 
“The real tragedy is that when a person, following a certain principle, powered by immense confidence and grit, creates a world for orphans; takes utmost care of them, nourishing them by continuously asking for alms; that motherly figure is (leave alone being given a government grant) being denied recognition, by the government. 
 
Mrs Sindhutai Sapkal (Mai), who, today, is known as mother to thousands of children, is being pressurised to admit the children in her institution into the government orphanages. This action is being taken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which is supposed to ensure care and protection of children. The sole reason being, the institution doesn’t have the official recognition.
 
Our Mai is tired of sending proposals to this department to get recognition since last five years, i.e., year 2011. The government, that is, the officers and members of the department of women and child development, have constantly denied us recognition, under one pretext or the other, referring to irrelevant points as mistakes in an unreasonable manner. 
 
It means the government, in the first place, is making all excuses to issue recognition to the institution, and to top it, gravely humiliating Mai by behaving in such a manner. It is really unfortunate that Mai, who was honoured, felicitated and awarded by three Presidents of India, should be treated thus. 
 
It is an unpalatable fact that the lady who in the last 40 years wandered from village to village, appealed for donations through speeches till her throat was parched, asked for alms to let live, raise and help thousands of orphans stand on their own feet, is being reprimanded severely by the government. 
 
Today, there are thousands of ashrams in Maharashtra, some are recognised, and some are not. If any institution does not fit into the rules and regulations pertaining to the running of institutions, then it may be denied recognition. But, why harass those institutions which provide all the facilities and education to the children, and work in a selfless manner? Looking at all the facilities, food provided to the children, at Mai’s four-storey building at Manjari, it should have got the grant without any hitch. 
 
Considering the future of the children, Mai has built such a grand building, raising money through asking for alms. Still, since 2011, it hasn’t received the grant despite it being close to essentials such as school and college and so on. Just the other day, there was a news story in a daily about two officers of the women and child development department getting arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau. What does it mean for the ordinary citizens and those who are doing good work? And to top it, there are threats by them that they will take away the children. Therefore, if the top officials in the government look into this matter and treat those who are doing good work for the community with due respect, the respect for the government amongst the people will definitely increase.  
— Vinay Sindhutai Sapkal”
 
 
Some of the many awards received by Mai Sindhutai Sapkal
 
• 2015 - Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize for the year 2014
• 2014 - BASAVA BHUSANA PURASKAR-2014,Awarded from Basava Seva Sangh Pune.
• 2013 - Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice.
• 2013 - The National Award for Iconic Mother ---- (first recipient)
• 2012 - Real Heroes Awards, given by CNN-IBN and Reliance Foundation.
• 2012 - COEP Gaurav Purskar, given by College of Engineering, Pune.
• 2010 - Ahilyabai Holkar Award, given by the Government of Maharashtra to social workers in the field of woman and child welfare
• 2008 - Woman of the Year Award, given by daily Marathi newspaper Loksatta
• 1996 - Dattak Mata Purskar,Given by Non-Profit Organization – By Sunita Kalaniketan Trust (In the memories of – Late Sunita Trimbak Kulkarni ), Tal – Shrirampur Dist Ahmednagar. Maharashtra Pune.
• 1992 - Leading Social Contributor Award.
Sahyadri Hirkani Award (Marathi: सह्याद्रीची हिरकणी पुरस्कार)
Rajai Award (Marathi: राजाई पुरस्कार)
Shivlila Mahila Gourav Award (Marathi: शिवलीला महिला गौरव पुरस्कार)
• The 2010 Marathi film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal by Anant Mahadevan is a bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.[11]
 
 
You may want to read
 
 
 
 

User

COMMENTS

Geeta Mehta

12 months ago

Such dedicated people are soo rare, to make things difficult is v upsetting. ..

Vaishali Sawant

12 months ago

I have signed the petition too.

Silloo Marker

12 months ago

The above story about the ill-treatment meted out to Sindhutai Sakpal, is really disgusting. It shows the crab mentality of officials who will do their best to pull down anyone rising after great efforts and doing something without any official help. This lady needs the help of the media to show the disrespect shown by Pankaja Munde to a person well known for the good that she has done to so many orphans. It's only bad press which puts pressure on any government body to act more responsibly. Moneylife may consider helping out by organising a press meeting.

Prasad Nageshkar

12 months ago

I have signed the petition and have high admiration for Sindhu tai . However was it necessary to start the petition with Devendra Fadnavis' name ?

Jyoti Dua

12 months ago

This matter must be reported on the blog of CM Maharashtra and PM Shri Modi. It is clearly a case of harassment to secure favours. The case may also be taken up through a reputed MP.

Sucheta Dalal

12 months ago

Friends. Please sign my change.org petition on this issue and support Sindhutai Sapkal!

ttps://www.change.org/p/devendra-fadnavis-stop-harassing-sindhutai-sapkal-don-t-close-down-her-orphanages?recruiter=9991754&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

REPLY

Shyamsunder Nambiar

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 12 months ago

Besides the change.org petition would a PIL help to stop this harassment and disrespect to a divine soul Sindhutai and the innocent children ? I agree we need to appeal to PM Modi as well.

Om Prakash Arora

12 months ago

We salute the noble deeds of Sindhutai.It is few people like her that restore our faith in humanity. State Govt must take proactive measures to register her orphanage Sanmati Bal Niketan at the earliest.
We appeal to Ms Munde to do the act which is expected of her.This will not only make the condition of inmates of orphanage better but also their future as well because without recognition the inmates are not eligible for adoption as per the CARA rules 2015.
We need to appeal to PM also.

REPLY

Ganesh Iyer

In Reply to Om Prakash Arora 12 months ago

Maharashtra is for money no sympathy no mercy otherwise who would behave this way. Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena used Sindhutai's photo for elections as a great maharashtrian but did not contribute to her cause. MNS also monitored all Toll nakas in mumbai n later settled down allegedly for a secret price. Sympathy is dead here so also law. Many poor lost their lands to criminals, politicians and gangsters what happened they perished with No Justice. If anyone wants to see the real ashramshala at Chikale village, Panvel one can learn the actual quality of maharashtra govt. Gujarathis do build lots of charitable institutions maharashtrians have not learnt that way. Sindhutais children are enough to teach those opposing her a good lesson. Its more shameful that no action is initiated in the Rs 400 crores chikki n biscuit scam, scandal of Pankaja Munde.

Vaishali Sawant

12 months ago

Very correct write a mail to mr. Modi immediately and let him know the concerns. believe it will get permanently sorted. Also mention that anyways the government is not helping the organisation then at least don't harras them.

p t suresh

12 months ago

She should write to the PM of India stating all the facts and pointing out who were all those in the Government to whom she had discussions and also written. Disclose full details and see what happens.

suneel kumar gupta

12 months ago

I always feel that govt. dept gets Scot free and accused are prosecuted. I believe that in this all the concerned govt. machinery from 2010 to date should be prosecuted for dereliction of duty for not doing anything for such a long time. Let them come & explain.

Parimal Shah

12 months ago

Mr Phadke
Are you listening?
Tell govt officers and babus to be sensitive and use law with some common sense instead of harassing people who are actually doing what your government should be doing, and in so doing, helping you to reduce your burden. Be human and behave like one, not like insensitive robot.

Parimal Shah

12 months ago

Mr Phadke
Are you listening?
Tell govt officers and babus to be sensitive and use law with some common sense instead of harassing people who are actually doing what your government should be doing, and in so doing, helping you to reduce your burden. Be human and behave like one, not like insensitive robot.

P L Despande pawar

12 months ago

Horrible is the word to describe the plight of Sindhutai.This is an appropriate case for Hon'ble High Court to take a suo motto notice of the plight of Sindhutai & do justice yo her.

Mahesh S Bhatt

12 months ago

Jiska Raja Vyapari uski Praja Bhikari.Aur yeh Raja to anath ko bhi nahi chodta.Om Shanti Mahesh

11 states to feel the pinch of UDAY scheme
The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) launched by the union government is unlikely to have a destabilising effect on fiscal consolidation at an aggregate level, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). However, some of the states, that have joined the scheme and a few, which have been incurring high distribution losses, but have not joined in, will feel the pinch, the ratings agency added.
 
Ind-Ra says its estimate shows that the aggregate fiscal deficit of states at 3.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY17 is expected to be marginally better than the 3.4% recorded in FY16 (revised estimates (RE)). The aggregate impact of UDAY on the fiscal deficits of the 13 states that have joined UDAY till-date will be 0.47% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in FY17.
 
 
"However, state finances of select states namely Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will come under pressure. Five states incurring high distribution losses that have yet not joined the UDAY scheme are Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Our analysis shows that once they do, state finances of even Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will come under stress," it added.
 
Ind-Ra notes that despite marginally better fiscal performance, states at the aggregate level are likely to miss the fiscal deficit target of 2.8% of GDP in FY17 by a wide margin. Similarly, despite showing an improvement over FY16 (RE), the combined revenue account of the states will miss the budgetary target of FY17. However, the ratings agency does not foresee any risk to the aggregate debt sustainability of the states in the medium term.
 
 
The ratings agency says, only 12 out of 23 states will be able to take the advantage of the window for additional borrowings in FY17 provided by the 14th Finance Commission (14FC). Among these 12 states, two fulfilled the criterion of interest and revenues being below 10% in the preceding year, four fulfilled the criterion of debt and state's gross domestic product (GSDP) less than 25% in the preceding year and six states fulfilled both these criteria in the preceding year. Thus, the states that fulfilled only one criterion became eligible for an additional borrowing of 0.25% of GSDP and the states that fulfilled both criteria became eligible for an additional borrowing of 0.50% of GSDP over and above the annual limit of 3.0% of GSDP.
 
The aggregate capex of state governments (FY16: 10.64% of GDP) is nearly double the capex of the central government (FY16: 5.41%).
 
 
Ind-Ra, however, says that it believes that the capex of state and central governments together can play only a limited role in reviving the capex cycle as an overwhelming proportion of the total capex (FY16: 83.96% of GSDP) in the economy comes from the private sector, including central and state public sector undertakings and households. 
 
Aggregate capital expenditure by states in FY16 grew 50.5% compared to 20.9% by the central government. In fact, growth in the aggregate capital expenditure of states has been consistently higher than the central government's since 1990s and the actual aggregate capital expenditure of the states has been higher than the capital expenditure of the central government since FY06, the ratings agency said.
 
Ind-Ra says it believes that the impact of the pay revision of state government employees, in line with the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission, will be felt only in FY18. Estimates from the ratings agency show that the likely impact of the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission on state government finances will be Rs1.58 lakh crore in FY18 (0.95% of GDP).
 
 
 
UDAY, Bond Market and Operational Improvement Plan
 
The bond market was nervous on the supply of state bonds of such high magnitude and apprehensions were raised that it would push up bond yields at the time of issuance of UDAY bonds. However, after a clarification by RBI that these will be off-market transactions and privately placed, issuance of UDAY bonds did not affect the bond market much. Initially, these bonds were allocated only to the banks who had lent money to distribution companies (discoms). However, now other investors such as mutual funds, insurance companies etc., are also investing in these bonds.
 
Operational improvement under UDAY is hypothesised to be achieved mainly by efficiency improvement, especially by a reduction in AT&C loss (Annexe B). As proposed tariff hikes are limited, a major challenge will be to reduce AT&C losses to 15% by FY20. Gujarat discoms already have AT&C losses below 15% of net input energy (FY15: 14.64%). Ind-Ra opines in view the amount of AT&C losses it will not be very difficult for Punjab (FY15: 16.66%) and Uttarakhand (FY15: 18.64%) discoms to achieve the AT&C loss reduction target. However, it will be difficult for the discoms of Jammu and Kashmir (the state still has a power department - FY15: 61.30%), Uttar Pradesh (34.22%), north Bihar (41.76%), south Bihar (45.53%), Jharkhand (39.87%), Haryana (29.58%), Ajmer (26.80%), Jaipur (32.00%) and Jodhpur (25.00%) to reduce AT&C losses to 15% by FY20.
 
The operational improvement plan of the three new states joining UDAY in FY17 (Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka) is not available. However, based on the AT&C loss for the latest available year, it appears AT&C loss reduction to 15% by FY20 will not be a challenge for Andhra Pradesh (FY16: 10.29%) and Goa (FY14: 10.72%), however, it will be difficult for Karnataka (FY14: 22.02%).
 
Source: Ministry of Power
 
 

 

User

Landlords Must Lord it Over their Properties
The rights and duties of a landlord were the subject of a recent conference. One of the owners discussed the probability of leasing out his property in a building. In his rush for earning a goodly sum, he insisted that he could not be held liable for any activities that his lessee indulged in. Most of the conferees agreed with him. This author did not.
 
As with all idioms, parables and sayings, each one has an equal and opposite version. Equally emphatic. Is not a man’s home his castle? Can he not do whatever he likes with it? Including that final and supreme right of ownership; destruction? 
 
On the other hand, can the castle owner, by his actions, blithely disturb the peace of others? Especially that of his neighbours’? A right, in conflict with a duty, becomes the topic of the day.
 
In a classic case, Lawrence vs Coventry, the Supreme Court in the UK held that, to be liable for a nuisance committed by its tenant, a landlord a) must have authorised the nuisance through active involvement, or b) while knowing of the probability of a nuisance (being caused). 
 
The howling dog and the abusive licensee, in Cocking vs Eacott, is a more recent case. It, too, was judged in England, in appeal. It decided whether a licensor was liable for a nuisance committed by her daughter, a licensee. Especially when the mother was put on notice.
 
You be the judge. 
 
Would you hold either owner responsible, or not? Also, ask what would make the difference; knowledge, complaints or reasonable doubt, or the lack of these.
In both judgements, the courts were clear on one thing. Nuisance must be stopped. Liability rests with the nuisance creator, for sure. But it also rests with the owner, if he has knowledge of the nuisance, if he should have foreseen the possibility, or if he were actively involved. In other words, it is the owner’s vicarious responsibility to ensure civil and legal use of his property. If a man’s home is his castle, so is the neighbour’s home the latter’s castle. 
 
Much as it may disturb many readers who feel that they are entitled to income from their property, no matter what, no man is an island. Each of us owes a duty, and a duty of care, to others in society. Therefore, liability may arise out of connivance, encouragement, by consideration, misplaced ideology, Nelson’s eye, negligence, carelessness, spite, aiding, abetting or any other excuse. But the sins of the tenant must visit upon the owner and pay he must, if possible with the former in tow.
 
The simple test for this would be thus. Primary responsibility lies with the person whose name appears on the 7/12 extract or any other title paper.
Could this apply to cooperative housing societies (CHSs)? Would the management be a party to the suit? In our opinion, yes. No matter what one means by ‘ownership flat’, the property belongs to the CHS. The members are shareholders, enjoying the fruits thereof. It is then the CHS’s duty to maintain peace and harmony, deter and stop illegal activities, and hold the ‘owner’ of the flat to answer.
 
One could well ask why it is so. Take a case in a state that bans liquor. A secluded house may make a nice speakeasy. The owner lets it out. Good returns; therefore, he asks no questions. Even if he did inquire, he may pretend not to know. The place is raided. As is common, the bootlegger escapes. What are the authorities supposed to do? Close the case? Say that the occupants could not be apprehended? The same story every time? We come back to our favourite maxim; ‘If there is a malady, there has to be a remedy’. The law was broken; so all, including the owner, have to pay.
 
The case laws on nuisance form an interesting body of judgements in what is called ‘The Law on Torts’. It was finely developed in the UK, over generations and now the American lawyers have made it into their own Las Vegas. India is catching up and rightfully so. So, if you own property, remember that with great ownership comes greater responsibility. 

User

COMMENTS

Ralph Rau

12 months ago

It is unfortunate though that we have this new Nationalist government which makes the Hindutva racial supremacy its official hallmark. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs - we are all plagued by same HUMAN frailties - hunger, jealousy, greed, lust, fear of death.
We have so much in common, other than a tribal belief that we are racially or religiously superior.
Its a survival instinct where we live in growing circles of selfishness. Look after yourself first, then your family, then your community-state-country...in that order.

PRAKASH D. BASRUR

12 months ago

The mute point is not the law of the land but the people born and brought up over there ! One thing that strikes me when I holiday abroad is the inherent respect for and adherence to it that the westerners have ! We "Bharatwasi" have to learn a lot from them. Even the most educated as well as rich "Bharatiyas" take pride in flouting the laws in India that is Bharat !

REPLY

Bapoo Malcolm

In Reply to PRAKASH D. BASRUR 12 months ago

Am sure you must have heard of our "Sanskruti". How we are born and put on this earth just to teach morals and morality to the rest of humanity. We, the chosen people, selected to point fingers at others, denounce everything 'forin', tell the world how we invented the aeroplane; initiated plastic surgery, in fact everything that the other countries wrongly take credit for. We do not break laws, all laws. We are individual saints, displaying our democratic independence, where lying is no longer an art form. It is our way of life. Haven't you heard of our "Sanskruti"?

Ralph Rau

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 12 months ago

But Mr Malcolm we all have our deficiencies. Of course it is not ideal that our homes are clean while our streets are filthy.
At a deeper level we have our prejudices against our fellow man as evidenced by the caste system. But the most powerful democracy has extreme racism against Blacks and now thanks to Trump, against Latinos.
Our slums are a good indication of our Sanskruti. In the midst of extreme poverty. They experience such low levels of crime compared to equivalent slums in Johannesburg, Rio De Janeiro or "inner-city" areas in the USofA. Thank goodness for gun-control.
We do need to figure out how to end the endemic monetary (if not moral) corruption at all levels starting from the lowest level clerk and lowest level policeman. The minimum salary of Rs 18000 per latest pay commission is a hopeful start.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)