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An Overview of Roles and Functions of NGO in India

Non Governmental Organisations, or NGOs, as they are called in common parlance, are organisations which are involved in carrying out a wide range of activities for the benefit of underprivileged people and the society at large. As the name suggests, NGOs work independently, without any financial aid of the government although they may work in close coordination with the government agencies for executing their projects.

NGOs take up and execute projects to promote welfare of the community they work with. They work to address various concerns and issues prevailing within the society. NGOs are not-for-profit bodies which means they do not have any commercial interest. NGOs are run on donations made by individuals, corporate and institutions. They engage in fundraising activities to raise money for carrying out the work they do. Ever since independence, NGOs have played a crucial role in helping the needy in India, providing aid to the distressed and elevating the socio-economic status of millions in the country.

Some Major Functions and Roles of NGOs in India are:

Utilising funds raised through donations, NGOs in India work for a wide range of causes. Some such causes include:

  1. Child rights
  2. Poverty
  3. Social Injustice
  4. Environment Conservation
  5. Human Rights
  6. Care for elderly people
  7. Women Empowerment
  8. Wildlife Conservation
  9. Animal Rights
  10. Sanitation and Hygiene
  11. Humanitarian Relief
  12. Health and Nutrition
  13. Literacy and Education
  14. Refugee Crisis
  15. Disease Control and others

NGOs are composed of experts with years of experience in executing social welfare activities. Before rolling out a project, detailed analysis of the situation is done and possible solutions are contemplated. Collaboration with civic agencies and other government agencies (at district, state and even national level at times) is done to carry out the work.

NGOs not only go on the ground to address these issues, they also undertake massive campaigning activities to generate awareness on these issues. In today’s time, NGOs are efficiently leveraging the power of social media to disseminate information about their work and reach more and more people.

The Importance of NGOs in India

India has made rapid progress in the socio-economic sphere in the last seven decades. Millions have been brought out of poverty, life expectancy has shot up, literacy rate has almost tripled and people have better access to healthcare services. However, given the vastness of India, both in terms of demography and area, and its socio-cultural diversity, millions are still bereft of a decent life. Even today, numerous people struggle to get basics such as health, shelter, education and nutritious food. The benefits of India’s economic progress have not been uniform in nature. There is rampant economic inequality. This is where NGOs’ role comes into the picture. Their job is to plug the gaps left by the government by improving the lives of the most marginalised communities.

In India, NGOs undertake a variety of activities, most of which are aimed at improving the socio-economic status of communities with limited means. From providing direct benefit (like distributing nutrition feed to malnourished children) to enabling and empowering people (like making a community realise the importance of sending their children to school),the primary role of NGOs in India has a far-reaching impact in helping underprivileged and deprived people march ahead in life.

The work done by NGOs goes a long way in nation building. With the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Act mandating 2% spend by large corporate on social issues, NGOs have the potential to touch millions of more lives through their work. Over the years, NGOs have streamlined their operations and enhanced their scales. Functioning of established NGOs is akin to big corporate organizations – there are well-defined KPIs and targets to meet. NGOs in India need to be transparent in their work and ensure that the funds raised benefit those for whom they are intended. This is a good trend, larger and more accountable NGOs will be able to deliver more effectively and efficiently, making best use of resources. NGOs in India are already proving to be agents of change. In times to come, they will continue to play a significant role in helping large sections of the Indian society come out from the quagmire of poverty and distress.

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