NGO - Voluntary Organizations

NGOs are generally considered to be non-state, non-profit groups who pursue purposes of public interest. The primary objective of NGOs is to provide social justice, development and human rights.

Why NGO route: The benefits of having NGOs in India are manifold. As India is a large country with huge population, it may practically be difficult for the govt. to take care of all the activities and the country definitely needs the support of NGO in India to take care the rest.

NGOs are formed to function in various fields so as to influence socio-cultural and economic life of people in India. There are organizations in the areas like environment, health care, anti-corruption, eradication of child labour, education, protection of human rights of women and children, consumer protection etc.

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Efforts of NGO ‘India Against Corruption’ in mobilizing the people against corruption that to without causing any law and order problem, are worth to be noticed. In our quality education deprived country, NGOs are really a ray of hope as many NGOs provide free education for poor children and uplift their lives.

NGOs have significantly influenced the development of laws and policies on the several important social and development issues such as RTI (MKSS), ending corporal punishment in schools, anti-trafficking, forest and environment, wildlife conservation, women, elderly people, R&R of development induced displaced people. 

Sometimes voluntary sector plays the role of extended hand of govt. by delivering services and projects. Since VOs have outreach in the remotest location of country as well as acceptance with the community. They become very effective partner of govt. at national, state and district levels. Their role is equally important in facilitating service delivery as well as empowering people about their rights under govt. schemes.


Growing importance/recognition of Voluntary Organisations:
It should be noted that while developing the 10th five year plan, Planning Commission set up a steering committee for the active involvement of voluntary organizations.  The review of 11th FYP was conducted by a consortium of VOs after a series of consultations.

Since the last 2 years selected voluntary organisations are also invited by Finance Ministry for Pre-Budget annual consultation. 

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Limitations of Voluntary Organisations:
1.  Financial resources are very critical to the survival of this sector because the users of services by this sector are not in position to pay. The total expenditure has to be supported by third party. In recent years focus has shifted more to technical aid from socio-economic development aid from the international aid agencies.

2.  Another problem is inadequate involvement of NGOs in planning process. Govt. looks for NGOs in the final phase of implementation of programmes. This creates a gap between grass roots needs and govt. agenda.

3.  NGOs are often criticized that they are wasting public money. However NGOs counter it by systematically identifying social problems and finding their solutions.

4.  Although govt. takes help of VOs in people empowerment initiatives but presently VOs are not supposed to mobilize people for their democratic rights unless approved by govt.

5.  The accountability and credibility of volunteer sector has been questioned time to time. There is a need of sound national policy, which will lead to make the funding and working process transparent.

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The national policy on the voluntary sector is just the beginning of the process to evolve a new working relationship between the govt. and the volunteer sector without affecting its autonomy and identity. Various strategies like capacity building, stream lining the procedures and guidelines, creating synergy between efforts of govt. and voluntary sector have been outlined.

NGOs can and should play the ‘game changer’ to pro-poor development through leadership on participatory research, community empowerment and search for development alternatives.

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  Posted on Monday, October 12th, 2015 at 3:26 AM under   Polity