in Promoting Participation in Development
Non-Governmental organisations or NGOs in brief, have been engaged in many social development activities. They are organised by a group of people who feel that they have a moral duty to serve the community. They are organised on a voluntary basis on the principle of service to the socially disadvantaged classes. Their efforts supplement those of the government. Also, they can take up many activities, like organising the poor, which the government bureaucracy is not generally capable of taking up. In the developing countries as well as in the least developed countries, the role of NGOs in development activities is being increasingly emphasised in such fields as child and woman’s development, slums improvement, poverty amelioration, environmental conservation, educational development and political movements. The success of the Rural Development depends upon the active participation and willing co-operation of the rural people through self-help organizations and voluntary agencies. In recent years, the voluntary agencies have acquired greater importance and significance than before. Voluntary action stimulated and promoted by voluntary agencies engaged in development play a significant role at the grass roots level in the Indian social milieu; The NGOs and Government Departments are also struggling hard to organize the people through social mobilization process for eliciting their participation in the successful implementation of the development programmes. Some have succeeded in the process and some are still struggling in progressive direction. Also, the guidelines issued by the Government of India on SGSY, strongly emphasized the need for social mobilization for the successful implementation of the SGSY scheme through effective and innovative role of NGOs. Role of NGOs in five years plans
After Independence, India was declared as a welfare state and relevant provisions were included in the Constitution of India. Social welfare was included as part of the Five Year Plans. The major responsibility of organizing social welfare services continued with the voluntary organizations. Hence, even today it is the voluntary organizations that are taking care of welfare activities (Basanta Kumar - 1995). The voluntary sector has been given due importance in the planning process right from the First Five Year Plan, as emphasis was given on public cooperation in national development with the help of VOs. It was highlighted in the First Plan document that the “Public cooperation and public opinion constitute the principal force and sanction behind planning. A democracy working for social ends has to base itself on the willing assent of the people and not the coercive power of the State.” In the Second Plan, it was reiterated that public cooperation and public opinion constitute the principal force and sanction behind India’s approach to planning. It was observed that wherever the people, especially in rural areas, have been approached, they have responded with eagerness. In national extension and community project areas, in local development works, in shramdan, in social welfare extension projects and in the work of voluntary organisations, there has always been willingness and enthusiasm on the part of the people to contribute in labour and local resources have been made freely available. The Third Five Year Plan emphasised that “The concept of public cooperation is related to the much larger sphere of voluntary action in which the initiative and organisational responsibility rest completely with the people and their leaders, and does not rely on legal sanctions or the power of the State for achieving its aims. It was realised that so vast are the unsatisfied needs of the people that all the investments in the public and private sectors together can only make a limited provision for them. Properly organised voluntary effort may go for towards...