Slowdown side-effect: Bangalore IT philanthropists go missingJune 16th, 2009 - 10:51 am ICT by IANS
By Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, June 16 (IANS) Call it the “side-effect” of the global economic slowdown: voluntary organisations in India’s tech hub Bangalore are facing a tough time these days. Small non-profit organisations in the city, mostly run on donations made by IT professionals, say their funding is drying up on account of the economic slowdown.
“Of late, funding has become a huge concern. We’re running short of money,” said T. Raja, the founder of Home of Hope, a home for Bangalore’s destitute children.
“Mostly, IT professionals are our donors. But because of the recession, hardly anybody is coming forward,” Raja told IANS.
Echoing Raja, Sabina Solomon, director of Good News Outreach Mission, an orphanage in the city, said IT professionals have stopped visiting her home in recent months.
“At least 30-40 IT professionals donate money every month. They give clothes and food for our children. But since the beginning of this year, such visits have come to a halt,” said Solomon, who is in charge of food, education, clothing and shelter of 80 children.
“They were our main contributors, now we’re finding it hard to run the orphanage,” she added.
In boom time, according to officials of non-governmental organisations, techies contributed between Rs.5,000 and Rs.30,000 a month.
However, ever since the slowdown hit the IT industry, which led to massive job losses and pay cuts, young philanthropists started shying away from coughing up for charity.
Kamal Nath, a city-based software professional, confessed to IANS he has stopped donating to voluntary organisations after his pay packet was slashed recently.
“I always wanted to serve society. Earlier, I used to donate money and necessary articles to poor children and the elderly. But recently I saw huge pay cuts in my salary. I can’t donate any more,” he said.
Nath, along with 23 software professionals, set up a group named “We Belong” three years ago to work for the elderly and poor children.
“I am not donating money these days. But, of course, my group and I visit orphanages and old age homes and spend time with them,” he said.
Ajit Prakash, a 32-old-IT professional, said he had earlier been associated with several charitable organisations in the city. “But with the threat of losing my job, I have stopped donating. Once the economy starts reviving, I will start donating money,” Prakash said.
Added a member of the Child Fund Association, an NGO working among child labourers: “We hope the economic situation improves fast. We are dependent on young professionals from the IT industry.”
According to UNITES-Professionals, a union of employees in the ITES sector, around 50,000 techies in India will lose jobs by the end of 2009.
Bangalore could be the worst-hit in terms of job losses as 40 percent of Indian IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) professionals work in the city.
Moreover, 80 percent of IT and BPO professionals in Bangalore have seen a cut in their pay packages and perks recently.
Over two million people were employed in the Indian IT and BPO industry in 2007-08, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the IT sector’s representative body.
(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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