A Red Cross on a white background is the Emblem of Red Cross, recognised in 1864 as the distinctive sign for medical relief teams on the battle field. The seven fundamental principles of Red Cross are; Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and Universality.
President Pranab Mukherjee while addressing the ceremonial session of the annual general meeting of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and St. John Ambulance, called upon young men and women of the country to donate blood in a big way to ensure that not a single person in need of blood is left wanting.
“I take this opportunity to call upon our young men and women to come forward in a big way and take part in voluntary blood donation. Our efforts must be to ensure that not a single person in need of blood is left unanswered. While we may not be able to prevent such unfortunate events from occurring, we can definitely lessen their adverse impact on human lives. For that, the quick response mechanisms for relief must be reinforced and the volunteer-based organisations must ensure immediate medical assistance during road accidents so as to minimise the loss of life,” said Mukherjee.
The volunteers dedication for the cause of humanity need to be saluted and extended hearties congratulations which has immensely contributed for achieving staggering success in the projects. Good wishes for the celebrating the thrilling theme on the birth anniversary of found of Red Cross Society.
Let us pledge to serve the society by mobilising together the power of humanity through the motto “Hope By Design” by following the seven principles of Red Cross Society – Humanity, Independence, Unity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Universality and Volunteer Service.
In fact, the Indian Red Cross Society Act was formulated at the time of wars between the countries, which needs to be amended to help the needy class during the peace time, by constituting a committee of government officials and representatives of active NGOs of the district.
Since the India Red Cross at the district headquarters are headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the district and all the funds are at his disposal, there is a need to put a check over the diversion of funds other than the charity purposes. Some time back, the working of Indian Red Cross Society was challenged by an NGO from Punjab, for use of vehicles, telephones and for some other purposes which does fall under the purview of principles of Red Cross.
The Punjab Government has admitted to recoup the funds after an enquiry committee, found that the Red Cross funds were diverted other than the provisions and aims and objects of the Red Cross Act, 1920. An amount of Rs.14.52 crore, spent out of the funds of Red Cross Societies in Punjab during the years from 1997 to 2007, needs to be recouped to the Red Cross Societies.
It is pertinent to mention here that as per the aims and objects as incorporated in the Indian Red Cross Society Act XV of 1920, there is a main provision to give aid to the sick and wounded members of the Armed Forces of the Union in accordance with the terms and spirit of Geneva Convention of 12thAugust 1949.
However, with the passage of time, the services were extended to help the poor and needy persons for medicines, books, tri-cycles, artificial limbs, DC camp office expenses, etc. In fact, a major share of red cross funds is spent for administrative expenses of the permanent staff engaged on the pattern of Punjab Government and their salaries are also revised at par with the government employees.
While talking to one of the old member of the Red Cross Society, Ferozepur, A. C. Madhar said that to reduce the expenses of the Society, it would be better if the highly paid and experienced staff is adjusted by the Punjab Government in its various departments and new persons on the fixed salary may be engaged. Rather, there are certain persons from the active NGOs, who would be willing to serve the Red Cross Society on honorary basis even, he addd.
He further shared that the guidelines of Indian Red Cross Society framed in 1920 needs to be amended so far as the aims and objects are concerned, to include the services, as per the actual requirement on the basis of utilisation of funds on various projects. The Red Cross Society should be more open about its budgets and allocation of funds to restore public confidence.