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Role of NGOs in a Country's Development

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 political structure.

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 the river.

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 relief measures.

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 community.

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 etc.

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 the citizens.

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
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: JL118672636598-05-0721

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