The Dyadic Between NGOs And Government


is an acronym used for the Union of India.  It stands for Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic of India. Here, I would like to emphasize on one term – “Socialist”. It was introduced into the Constitution of India in 1967. Socialism is a political and economic theory which advocates that the means of production distribution and exchange at a regulated by the community as a whole. To put it into simple words, in a socialist system, the power lies with the masses.


India is a diverse land; topographically, culturally and socially. It has seen big empires rise and fall, governments come and go. Governing such a diverse land is a task, which is why governments in India face a lot of criticism from different groups of people for different reasons. The government tries to address the problems faced by public at major level but there is a huge disparity between what is expected by the citizens and what is delivered to them. There are various agencies, individuals and organizations working constantly to bridge this gap and reduce the disparity. Let us focus on the Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are non-profit organizations that function independently; without any government involvement. NGOs are also called Civil Societies. In most of developing countries (and in some developed countries), NGOs work at the grassroot level for the development and upliftment of local communities. Development in many sectors and areas is to be attributed to the extensive work carried out by the NGOs. 


Though NGOs are independent of the government, they do have to function within the framework established by the government. The relationship between NGOs and governments has been composite. Over the years, government has given due recognition and has also encouraged the NGOs. However, there has also been an equal amount of criticism; if not more, for the government agencies by the NGOs. The government has stringent laws for functioning of NGOs, especially in financial dealings; of course, for the greater good of the community that a particular NGO serves and to maintain transparency. In some regions of the country, NGOs have gained a lot of public support and recognition due to their work. Some governments view such powerful NGOs as their competitors, mainly because they are critical of the government’s undertakings.


Initially the government had a very lukewarm response towards NGOs. It was in the year 1992 when the government launched the 8th five-year plan under the chairmanship of P.V. Narasimha Rao that NGOs got acceptance from the government for working in the developmental sphere. Human resource development was the top priority in the 8th five-year plan and NGOs are an integral part to reduce human suffering and contribute to the development of the poor and marginalized groups, be it in terms of education, employment, community health, relief activities or human rights. Even after this, NGOs had constantly been on the radar of various governments. But there have also been various instances where governments have approached NGOs to aid them in various projects or missions. The most recent example being that of lockdown imposed in March, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Indian government reached out to over 92,000 NGOs and asked them to help the government towards relief work for lower-income groups of the society. In response to this, NGOs set up community kitchens for the poor, conducted awareness camps, and distributed masks, sanitizers and ration supplies.


It is in a situation like this that a complementary and collaborative approach between the two is required. NGOs follow a ‘bottom-up’ strategy and start by working on a small scale. As a result, they are well aware of the problems faced by local people. Their experience and expertise are useful for the government to implement certain policies. NGOs provide the government with abundant local inputs and resources. They have a better reach in local areas and sufficient and equipped manpower well-connected to the people of that region. The government can harness this power of the NGOs by funding small, innovative projects for developmental and educational purposes, under schemes flagged by the government itself.


NGOs or civil societies are the third section of the society. For all-round development, it is important government and NGOs work together. It is a common misconception among people that NGOs have to be against the establishment to be genuine or that an NGO is corrupt if it is working on the same line as the establishment. Only through collaboration we can achieve sustainable development. It is crucial for the NGOs to maintain a healthy relationship and liaison well with the government entities wherever required. So, the next time you come across any NGO which has partnered with a government establishment, do not question their integrity or their quality of work. Instead try to support them in whichever way possible because they are only trying to bring about a change.


-Kruti Joshi

Ur Gesture is working towards bringing local NGOs working in your neighborhood in front of you so that all of us can work together for the upliftment of the society. When they are near, you can visit them anytime and know where your money is being utilized



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