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January 12, 2017

Essay - Role of NGOs in India

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  • Definition of NGOs. 
  • NGO's role in Government's Five Year Plans.
  • NGO's role to protect women's interest. 
  • NGO's role in educating the farmers, health and education of children, tackling environmental related problems.
  • NGOs in India are increasing rapidly. 
  • NGOs work for several important social and developmental issues.
Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), are voluntary organisation because they are free from governmental control in their functioning. They are democratic and open to all those wishing to become member of the organisation and serve the society. They have assumed a significant space in civil society, which is fast emerging today due to the weakening of the state.

We can further define NGOs as "formally registered not-for profit association of groups of individuals founded on the principles of equality, altruism and voluntary work spirit to promote human development (including environment and biodiversity) and nation building". NGO is a popular term, which has gained currency at global level and commands respect in society due to its welfare services in society.

The organisation does seek financial assistance from the government but it operates, at least theoretically, on its own principles and programmes. NGOs are, in principle, open to voluntary membership. Any one may become member by choice and resign from the organisation at one's own will.

Over the years, NGOs have found a place in the Five Year Plans of the government. Sometimes it is in the form of their roles in the rural sector development and sometimes it is in the formation of self-reliant groups. The government is coming up with schemes such as `Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan', and allotting crores of the budget to the same. Hence, it is important for the people to understand the importance of education. Poverty and illiteracy are the two black spots for our country. In fact, both of these are the root cause of many other problems.

As the volunteers of NGOs have the knack to develop a bond with the cause and the concerned entities, it helps in easy implementation and execution of different governmental schemes. They have played an important role in making people understand the importance of education, curbing the menace of social evils such as child marriage, sari etc. Night schools have become common in the rural areas where the children and working adults can come and study. The past few years have seen a rampant increase in crime against women in the form of, physical, sexual and emotional abuse. These horrifying incidents leave deep scars that young girls and women are unable to cope with. They lose their self-esteem and confidence.

It is over here that many NGOs take the charge, counsel them, help gain their lost self-esteem and make them self-reliant. In fact, there are many NGOs which are fighting a legal battle on the behalf of the survivors. Apart from support to women, NGOs play a vital role in educating the farmers and introducing them to new technique of farming. The farmers in some villages of India still make use of obsolete techniques for farming and aren't even aware of the special benefits provided to them by the government. It is in collaboration with the different local NGOs, the government has been able to successfull in reaching to these farmers and able to educate them about the same. Farmers are made aware of the new cost saving techniques, special variety of seeds and manures etc available in the market. There are some NGOs which help the farmers to get the best price for their produce in the grain market.

The 20th century came with its share of health and environment related problems. Children are dying of malnourishment, lack of balanced diet, anaemia, and other such diseases. International regulatory bodies such as UNO and WHO are working ferociously to spread the awareness, as well as, free medication, health supplements for different diseases. NGOs have been radical in creating awareness and vaccination for deadly diseases such as polio. In fact, there are specialised NGOs working with HIV patients and eventually help them to lead a normal life.

With the global temperatures soaring, hundreds of NGOs have taken initiatives to create awareness among the people, especially the young school children about the importance of flora and fauna in our ecosystem. They regularly conduct plantation drives, awareness talks, walkathon and involve the youth in it. This plays an important role in sensitising the masses to the cause.

Whether they were the horrific floods in Chennai or a devastating earthquake in Nepal, thousands of volunteers as well as NGOs have put their foot forward to help in disaster management and rehabilitation of the affected. Owing to such a great need, the number of NGOs in India is increasing rapidly. NGOs have immense role in bringing about social change and development and it is being experienced from different parts of the country.

India is still a developing nation; non-government organisations are often set up to plug in the gaps left by the government. India as a nation still has a large population that is vulnerable in terms of health, education, jobs and opportunities, rural development in general. Some of the most prominent NGOs working in the education sector include Pratham (research on educational outcomes, famous for the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), Teach for India (direct intervention in low income classrooms) and Akshya-Patra (involved with the mid-day meal scheme). Others such as Goonj are involved with other problems having the poor. Goonj specially focuses on clothing and believes that merely by reusing the existing clothing in the nation.

Moreover, a substantial number of NGOs are involved with one of the most important problems facing the poor, lack of quality skills and employment opportunities. The role of women voluntary organisations towards this cause has been marvellous. Sewa, Sathin, Eklavya, Disha, Environmental Action Group and Agrani Foundation etc are some of the thousands of NGOs known for their role in development by creating awareness among people and interventions, if required.

The much celebrated NREGA, ICDS, ICPS, Nirmal Gram and Swasthya Bima schemes of the government have their roots in the work of many NGOs. NGOs have significantly influenced the development of laws and policies on several important social and developmental issues such as the right to information, juvenile justice, ending corporal punishment in schools, anti-trafficking, forests and environment, wildlife conservation, women, elderly people, with disability, rehabilitation and resettlement of development induced displaced people to name a few.

Further, NGOs made their modest attempts to ensure the effective implementation of these laws and policies by conducting and disseminating findings from participatory research, budget analysis, public hearings, social audits, workshops, seminars and conferences.

In the long-term, NGOs will continue to play a larger role in nation-building. NGOs can and should play the game changer to pro-poor development through leadership on participatory research, community empowerment and search for development alternatives.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Altruism the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others; 
  • Albeit although; even if
  • Knack a special skill, talent or aptitude; a trick
  • Curbing restrain, hold back; 5. Rampant violent in action or spirit; raging
  • Intensive of, relating to or characterised by intensity
  • Ferociously extreme or intense in activity
  • Soaring increase rapidly above the usual level
  • Walkathon a long-distance walk organised as fundraising event
  • Autonomous not subject to control from outside; independent
  • Holistic incorporating the concept that the whole is more that merely the sum of its part
  • Modest relatively moderate, limited, or small. 
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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