Daan Utsav

Government

GOVERNMENT

When it comes to scale, there is no vertical that can achieve it better than government. This is simply because the government employs the largest number of people, and easily has the widest reach across the country. So if you have an idea for a pan-India event, the government can help you achieve it. Also, involving the government could perhaps be the only way that #DaanUtsav becomes the public movement that we hope it can be.

Some examples to get inspired by

In the past, government departments have taken the initiative and organised events in association with NGOs to raise awareness about the festival, and sensitise their employees about causes they are committed to. In 2013, Mumbai Police, along with Dignity Foundation celebrated #DaanUtsav in which senior citizens put up a spectacular cultural performance. Attendees included Bollywood star Ajay Devgn and Dr. Satya Pal Singh, former Police Commissioner of Mumbai.

The Chennai Police have been celebrating the festival in unique ways as well. One year they brought together children from a government school and gave them a lesson in safety with a tour around the station.

Southern Railways’ gift to 40 special children was equally remarkable—the children enjoyed a ‘Joy Ride’ on the mountainous track of the Nilgiri Heritage Train. This was their way of spreading cheer by giving for a cause. BEST in Mumbai, meanwhile, have been providing their bus-backs free of cost for #DaanUtsav promotion. They also screen #DaanUtsav advertisements free of cost in the buses.

In Kerala, former Chief Minister Shri Oomen Chandy took time out to spend an hour with the underprivileged each day of the week. This definitely inspired a lot of people to celebrate the festival in some way or the other.

These are just few examples of past events. There have been several other ways in which the government has stepped forward to celebrate #DaanUtsav.

If you are an employee of the Government of India, or know people in government offices, here are a few ideas that you might find helpful:

 

Transport

Police Education Public Works

Public Health

Setting up collection boxes in the vehicles. Opening up police stations for visits by children and the elderly. Gift compassion with other schools. Toy/ clothes collection drives across offices. Organising hospital clean-ups and free health check-up camps.
NGOs selling merchandise in permitted zones at airports, train stations, etc. Training for women in slums in basic self-defence. ‘Fistful of grain’ or Rs. 1 campaign which can be aggregated and given to the localanganwadi or orphanage. Request for approval for parks to be opened up during the week for the community to celebrate DaanUtsav by organising clean-ups etc. Visits to special wards in the hospitals by volunteers.
Online booking sites used to collect donations from customers. Sale of products by prison inmates, the proceeds of which can go to charity. A festival of ‘giving’ in an open space where different communities come together.

 

Some important points to be noted when interacting with government departments:

  1. Ensure you identify the jurisdiction and powers of the government department before approaching them with ideas. Most state government websites will give you this information, for example, http://www.tn.gov.in/ for the Tamil Nadu state government,http://delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/doit/Delhi+Govt/Delhi+Home for Delhi government.
  2. Most phone numbers for government officials are available online and you can make a call for an appointment. It is usually a good idea to take copies of printed letters detailing the ideas to the meeting.
  3. Carry out background research of the secretary and make note of his/ her pet projects. What also helps is looking up existing schemes and progammes and thinking of ways to leverage them during #DaanUtsav.
  4. With government officials, the tone that is used is extremely critical. The key is to not be disappointed even if it takes multiple meetings for an event to happen!
  5. Government departments are best used to seek permission for an event you might want to organise. 

Most government officers like accountability. So, post the event, it would help if you could put together a small report with some pictures and send it back to the officer. This would help future volunteers to associate with them and also help you stay in touch.

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