NGOs and Development in India
submitted to the university of Mangalore
By Nelson Pinto
With the declining role of the state in social welfare and social services, NGOs are increasingly gaining attention and prominence and are looked upon as alternative agencies in promoting awareness, change and development in society. After Independence we find with launching of planning for development, the voluntary sector have had official status and has been recognized as right agency to plan, implement, evaluate changes that have to be undertaken. Voluntary organizations are known by names like people’s organization, non-governmental organizations, grassroots organizations, action groups, etc.
NGOs approach to development is based on the important principle of people’s participation. NGOs are founded by people who voluntarily associate with an aim of working together to achieve a common goal, objective. The approach adopted by the NGOs treats people not as objects but as subjects who possess cultural knowledge as well as abilities to take their own independent decisions, which can be collectively implemented in bringing about change in the desired direction. There is a lot of diversity in the NGOs in India. They differ in terms of size, membership, structure, funding, relationship with the political parties and the state, philosophy, goals and programmes. It is estimated that there are as many as 30,000 NGOs, out of which about 14,000 are registered under the Foreign contribution Regulative Act which often becomes their strength and sometimes limitation when the funds are not properly utilized. Development
Development is a progress of positive change quantitatively and qualitatively. Many people define it in their own context according to their surroundings and immediate needs. The definition by the South may not be the same as in the North but there are key components of the definitions that are similar everywhere. Some therefore define it as a process by which members of a society inspire themselves and their institutions in ways that enhance their ability to mobilize and manage resources sustainably to produce sustainable and justify distributed improvements in their quality of life consistent with their aims and aspirations. It is a process involving community participation in critically identifying and analyzing their needs and problems, setting goals and making their won decisions on sustainable use of available resources to improve their quality of life. This implies that it is a struggle against oppression and all that make life less human. It is a process of building new communities and alternative structures, which empower the poor and enable all people to become subjects of their own destiny. It involves a movement from unequal relationships to the democratization of all aspects of life and true selfreliance. In essence, development is about people and the way they live and every society/community must initiate its own development process and the government should mainly facilitate the process through good/democratic policies.
“A voluntary organization, properly speaking, is an organization which, whether its workers are paid or unpaid, is initiated and governed by its own members without external control”.
David Sills defines voluntary organization as “a group of persons organized on the basis of voluntary membership without state control, for the furtherance of some common interests of its members”.
Classification of voluntary agencies
Voluntary agencies have been classified into seven categories by J.B.Singh
1. Charity: Giving food, clothing, medicine, alms, in cash and in kind, land, building, etc
2. Welfare: Providing facilities for education, health, drinking water, roads, communication etc.
3. Relief: Responding to call of duties during natural calamities like floods,...