“NGOs in India are facing many challenges”: A country with the largest number of active non-government organizations – The world’s largest democracy

First official estimate [2010]: An NGO for every 400 people in India

India has possibly the largest number of active non-government, not-for-profit organizations in the world. A recent study commissioned by the government put the number of such entities, accounted for till 2009, at 3.3 million. That is one NGO for less than 400 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India.

Even this staggering number may be less than the actual number of NGOs active in the country. This is because the study, commissioned in 2008, took into consideration only those entities which were registered under the Societies Registration Act,1860 or the Mumbai Public Trust Act and its variants in other states.

Such organisations can be registered under a plethora of Acts such as the Societies’ Act, 1860, Indian Trust Act, 1882, Public Trust Act, 1950, Indian Companies Act, 1956 (Section 25), Religious Endowment Act,1863, The Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, the Mussalman Wakf Act, 1923, the Wakf Act, 1954, and Public Wakfs (Extension of Limitation Act) Act, 1959, etc. […]

Source: “First official estimate: An NGO for every 400 people in India’ by Archna Shukla, Indian Express, 7 July 2010
URL : http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/first-official-estimate-an-ngo-for-every-400-people-in-india/643302/
Date Visited: 25 January 2015

The contribution of [over 200,000] charities—which range from small concerns to vast India-wide networks—to development and the individual lives of millions of poor Indians is incalculable. Activist groups helped India gain independence in 1947 and have since helped restrain the state’s excesses and compensate for its weaknesses. Care India, which provides public-health education and other services to women and girls, assisted 84m people in 2021-22. Research outfits such as the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a think-tank in Delhi, drafted many of the policies that have made India a laboratory of anti-poverty schemes. Registered NGOs, a minority of the total, are estimated to employ 2.7m people. Perhaps only Bangladesh, globally famed for its ngos, owes more to them. This makes the decade-long attack that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has launched on the sector both risky and costly. […]

The home ministry, which regulates ngos, has cancelled nearly 17,000 licences to receive foreign contributions under the [Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, FCRA)] since 2014. It has also made applying for a licence much harder. This is a powerful curb because of how dependent many of the most influential Indian NGOs are on foreign money. […]

Yet the weakness of the Indian state cannot be wished away. State governments are especially reliant on NGOs to deliver basic services, such as the education that Pratham, an NGO, is providing to 5.6m children. […]

The FCRA restrictions on big NGOs are hurting the many smaller outfits they support, often in India’s poorest regions. This is a “fatal blow to small NGOs that rely on sub-grants”, says the leader of a big grassroots outfit. The erosion of brainpower at institutes such as CPR could be irreversible. Many of its former scholars have gone abroad or to work in better-paying private firms. The weakening of such bodies is likely to result in fewer innovative ideas, poorer policy and less oversight. […]

Source: “Civil society in India The Economist”, 24 February 2024
URL: https://www.economist.com
Date Visited: 25 February 2024

Contested territory

Accused by the government of stalling development and by critics on the Left of not being radical enough, NGOs in India are facing many challenges. Dionne Bunsha reports.

[..] In June, a report by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) titled ‘Concerted efforts by select foreign funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to take down Indian development projects’ was ‘leaked’. It accused several grassroots movements, national and international NGOs and prominent public intellectuals of ‘threatening the country’s economic security.’ […]

The IB report has triggered a fake debate about NGOs sabotaging development. […]

There is also a case to be made of the generally more equitable employment provided by NGOs, which surely contributes to the economy. Activist Kavitha Kuruganti from the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture asserts that this contribution exceeds that of India’s Information Technology sector. […]

India has possibly the largest number of NGOs in the world – more than 3.3 million, according to a 2009 government study. There is one NGO for every 400 Indians.*

Several work with the poorest in the country on a wide range of issues (that the governments often ignore) and have a positive influence on government policy. […]

*Footnote 2: ‘First official estimate: an NGO for every 400 people in India’, The Indian Express, 7 July 2010; nin.tl/indianex; also see quote and source given above

Source: pp. 22-24 of the print edition of the New Internationalist, December 2014, Issue 478

NGOs are no longer seen as the blameless agents of benevolence. Dinyar Godrej inspects the charge-sheet against them. | Read more >>

Source: NGOs – do they help? — New Internationalist, December 2014, Issue 478
Address : http://newint.org/features/2014/12/01/ngos-keynote/
Date Visited: 25 February 2024

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