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GONon-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India

Table of contents:

1. Introduction2

2. What is a non-governmental organization?2

3. NGOs in India3

4. The Indian NGO Partnership System4

5. NGO categories5

6. Positive aspects and areas of concern regarding NGOs in India6

7. Indian NGO-Awards 20097

8. Important NGOs in India8

References 10

1. Introduction

Inthe last decades the number of private organizations that cooperate to solve global problems has risen incredibly fast. These organizations are known as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and in general focus on humanitarian and environmental goals. One important factor for the development of NGOs has been the process of globalization.
These days many problems are too complex to be solved on anational level, especially because many governments concentrate on political and economical issues. Therefore numerous NGOs were founded all over the globe leading to the fact that today all NGOs taken as a whole constitute the eight biggest economy in the world in GDP terms.[1]
The country of India is one good example for the impressive increase in the number of NGOs as in 2009 there were around3.3 millions of active non-governmental organizations. This is the second highest number of active NGOs in the world, only surpassed by Russia.
The purpose of this paper is to give an overview about the current situation and the characteristics of NGOs in India.

2. What is a non-governmental organization (NGO)?

There is no legal definition for the term NGO but in general NGOs can bedefined as organizations created by natural or legal persons that operate independently from any government.[2] The term was introduced by the United Nations (UN) in the early 70s and it is used to refer to organizations that are both non-governmental and non-profit. Although some NGOs are totally or partially supported by the government they can keep their non-governmental status by excludinggovernment representatives from the membership organization. Apart from this, the term NGO is usually applied to organizations that have a wide social focus that includes political aspects. Concerning the goals of NGOs the national portal of India[3] offers the following description:
“Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) include organizations engaged in public service, based on ethical, cultural,social, economic, political, religious, spiritual, philanthropic or scientific & technological considerations.”[4]
To summarize there are four fundamental characteristics that constitute NGOs:
NGOs have to be independent of direct control of any government.
They cannot be active as political parties.
They need to have non-profit goals.
NGOs are not allowed to be involved incriminal actions; in particular violent acts have to be avoided.

Although these four points serve as generally accepted characteristics, there are still limitations to this kind of definition. Some NGOs are closely linked to political parties, several others generate income from commercial activities like sales of publications and a very small number of NGOs is involved in violent political protests.Despite these limitations one can conclude that NGOs can be described as independent voluntary associations of people with a common purpose.[5]

3. NGOs in India

There is no certain information about the exact number of NGOs in India. However approximately more than 18,000 NGOs received foreign funds in 1999 and according to a survey from the Indian government in 2009 they were about 3.3millions of NGOs, this corresponds roughly to one NGO for every 400 Indians.[6] This number easily surpasses the number of primary schools and primary health centers within the country. The aforementioned survey also states that most NGOs are registered in the state of Maharashtra (4.8 lakh[*]), followed by Andhra Pradesh (4.6 lakh), UP (4.3 lakh), Kerala (3.3 lakh), Karnataka (1.9 lakh), Gujarat...
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