NGO is an organisation of a group of individuals who volunteer their services
for achievement of the society’s larger goal, in the interest of the general
public. It is not under control of any governmental body and is a non-profit
venture for improving the welfare of citizens. NGOs act as a middleman between
the society and the government, assessing the needs of individuals. They do
command respect at the global level as it seeks assistance in not only the
financial sector, but also in the vast field of economic, social and the
Brief History of NGOs Around The Globe
At the end of World War II, the term “non-governmental organization” was coined
by the United Nation and henceforth its concept was popularised. But the roots
are far deeper as even before the onset of WW II, there were voluntary groups
working at a global level for the betterment of citizens like the Sufi Tariqahs,
Catholic Orders, and other such religious and scientific societies. Even as late
as the 13th century, Chinese affiliates worked for humanitarian purposes along
During the 18th century, Friends of Truth was established to work towards more
‘universal goals’ in France that had affiliates all around Europe. To fight
small pox and eradicate it, Royal Jennerian Society was created that discovered
new ways of vaccination. Glancing at the developments that occurred during the
19th century, there were umpteen number of anti-slavery groups working towards
Tracing the Origin Of NGOs in India
The term NGO gained currency much later in the country but the idea around which
its concept revolves has been followed and is in practise past many centuries.
India is a land of religion wherein people deeply believe in their karma and
ethical notions. Good deeds follow noble results and helps building a supportive
Dating back to the 18th and 19th century when people become more organised,
wanted to work in a systematized manner and hence got into groups which offered
voluntary help to the sufferers. As it is rightly said by Mother Teresa “Charity
isn’t about pity, it is about love
.” NGOs came together to abolish the
deeply rooted system of Sati that was rampant at those times and worked towards
abolishing untouchability, casteism and other social evils like child marriage
By the 20th century, many people started associating themselves with NGOs like
‘Servant of India’ which worked on Gandhian principles. Later, NGOs found place
in India’s five-year plans, working for the rural sector, the down trodden,
towards eradicating illiteracy and fighting deadly diseases. In a developing
country like India, international regulatory bodies like WHO, UNICEF, UNO etc
also come up and work vociferously by spreading awareness.
Role Of NGOs in a Country’s Development
NGOs being voluntary groups work towards filling the lacuna in society. These
organisations work actively towards spreading awareness about one’s rights which
sometimes they are wrongly devoid of like Women or SCs/STs. A knack is developed
with entities that ease ways of implementing and enforcing governmental schemes.
Like throughout history, these organizations have worked to root out evil
menaces from society like Sati etc.
An active role is played by NGOs in standing against physical and sexual abuse.
NGOs act as a torch bearer in lightening people’s lives with informative
knowledge about medications, education, working for the senior citizens and
garnering respect by boosting the self-esteem of the under-privileged.
Many NGOs counsel the survivors of violence and natural distructions, making
them self-reliant. Working in the rural sections, they aim at educating the
farmers by guiding them about the advanced farming techniques, cost saving
methods and educating them about the use of high yielding variety seeds.
Apart from this, NGOs play an active role in eradicating deadly diseases like
‘polio eradication drive’. Objectives aim at fighting malnutrition, amnesia,
providing better health care facilities. Help is even provided to patients
suffering from AIDS and HIV so that they are not outcaste from society but lead
a normal life.
With advancement and globalisation, the temperatures have been soaring and due
to the scorching heat, environment is degrading. NGOs even focus towards
protecting the nature and sensitise the masses by listing its dangerous effects.
As a result, they carry out plantation and cleanliness drives, banning plastic
and thus enhancing the flora and fauna.
The devastating floods in Chennai or the horrific aftermath of the Nepal
earthquake was greatly mitigated by the help of NGOs. Even during the gruesome
Covid-19 Pandemic, NGOs have continuously played an unforgettable role. They
have been on the forefront conducting webinars, distributing masks and
sanitisers and looking into the mass vaccination drives.
Role Played by NGOs in India Specifically
Indian Government gives a great thrust to NGOs that promotes the country’s
development. There have been many instances when NGOs have played an essential
role in the development of India as a nation. Among others, one being during the
6th Five-Year Plan (FYP), wherein “Garibi Hatao
” was the slogan. Carrying
forward to the 7th FYP, NGOs undertook the task fo rural development by delving
into developing “self-reliant communities
The 8th FYP promoted nationwide networking of NGOs while the 9th and 10th FYP
focussed on the larger picture by assigning tasks to NGOs that included giving
financial aid to farmers, helping them with agricultural techniques and widening
the scope of NGOs.
Helping India with the developments further, these organisations also look into
accelerating activities like issues dealing with poverty alleviation, fighting
against caste stigmatisation, water and environment sanitisation, women rights
and curbing child labour. In the past decades, there has been an immense growth
in areas where NGOs have been active. They have been dynamic in almost all
sectors-health, education, financial, rural.
Another highlighted achievement of NGOs is in successfully influencing the
Indian Government to formulate various developmental laws and policies like
Right to Information, MNREGA, Juvenile Justice, Integrated Child Protection
Scheme (ICPS). There were other developmental activities undertaken by these
NGOs like focussing on women issues, environmental and forest developments,
looking into anti-trafficking laws etc.
NGOs have always been on the forefront taking accountability by offering
multiple solutions for development. Development is strengthened when NGOs
especially collaborate with governments and markets. These organisations apart
from acting as a mediator between the society and government, lend a helping
hand by acting as a ‘think-tank’, improvising and offering creative solutions.
An efficient research work is also carried out that improves the development
activities further. NGOs also obtain funds from national and foreign agencies
that keeps them financially stable and linked to other openings.
Not just during the Pandemic, but NGOs have played a critical role in times of
all disasters and unforeseen emergencies by alleviating the hardships faced by
Therefore, NGOs have and always maintained a leading role in any country’s
development believing firmly in the saying- “No act of kindness, no matter
how small, is ever wasted
”~ Edmund Burke.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Simran Srivastava
Authentication No: JL118672636598-05-0721