NGOs in India

Non- governmental organizations (NGOs) can be defined as, “legally constituted corporations created by natural or legal people that operate independently from any form of government. The term originated from the United Nations and normally refers to the organizations that are not a part of the government and are not conventional for profit businesses. In the cases in which NGOs are totally or partially funded by the governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization.” The NGOs are essentially heterogeneous, each having its own realm of operation. Their field of work may vary from taking care of street animals to providing care and rehabilitation of rescued human trafficking victims. Some of the prominent fields of operation are children, disabled persons’ education, taking care of the elderly, employment, environment, health, human rights and women.

Due to the multifarious nature of the realms of NGOs’ operations, several acronyms have been coined to categorize the NGOs.
• BINGO: “ Business-friendly International NGO”
• TANGO: “Technical Assistance NGO”
• TSO: “Third Sector Organization”
• GONGO: “Government Operated NGOs”
• DONGO: “Donor Organized NGO”
• INGO: “International NGO”
• QUANGO: “Quasi-Autonomous NGO”
• National NGO: “ A non-governmental NGO that exists only in one country”
• CSO: “Civil Society Organization”
• ENGO: “Environmental NGO”,such as Greenpeace and WWF
• NNGO: “Northern NGO”
• PANGO: Party NGO i.e. NGO set up by parties and used as a front for political matters.
• SNGO: “Southern NGO”
• SCO: “Social Change NGO”
• TNGO: “Transnational NGO”
• GSO: “Grassroots Support Organization”
• MANGO: “Market Advocacy Organization”
• NGDO: “Non-governmental Development Organization”
(Source of Acronyms-Wikipedia)

List of  top ten NGOs in India

1. SAMMAAN FOUNDATION (established on January 25, 2007): Originally established to link the poor to the mainstream through education, training and financial support, the current project of this NGO involves the rickshaw pullers to help them earn a better livelihood. This NGO also has notable contribution in areas like children education, health services and welfare of women.

2. GOONJ: A recipient of the “NGO of the Year” award in 2007 at the India NGO Awards, this NGO aims at solving the clothing problems of the downtrodden. Goonj also provides relief during Rahat floods in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.

3. AKSHAYA TRUST: The sole aim of this NGO is to restore human dignity. Operating in Madurai, this NGO offers rehabilitation, healthy food and care to the street destitute.

4. SMILE FOUNDATION: The main aim of this NGO is the rehabilitation of the underprivileged by providing them education and healthcare services, thereby converting them into productive assets. It is run by a group of corporate professionals.

5. UDAAN WELFARE FOUNDATION: The main aim of this NGO is to help the destitute, the main area of stress being women, children and senior citizens and also environmental welfare. One of their main projects is a cancer chemotherapy center.

6. PRATHAM: The main aim of this NGO is to provide education to the children living in the huge slums of Mumbai and even providing education to those people who are unable to go to school. Their projects have increased enrollment of children in schools thus promising them a better tomorrow.

7. LEPRA Society: This NGO aims at prevention and control of diseases like AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis in poor communities.

8. DEEPALAYA: This NGO aims at providing education to the children living in the slums of Delhi. Their projects also include providing healthcare, education, vocational training to the downtrodden and the physically disabled. They have contributed towards significant rural development in Haryana and Uttarakhand.

9. UDAY FOUNDATION: A New Delhi-based NGO, the Uday Foundation provides support to the parents and families of children suffering from congenital disorders and other syndromes. Their projects also include research to open new horizons of healthcare technologies. They also have health projects for common people. Their special stress is in the area of protecting child rights.

10. HELPAGE INDIA: Established in 1978, the sole aim of this NGO is to provide resources to the elderly people of our country. Their objective is to make aware the senior citizens of their rights and protect the rights of the senior citizens of our country so that they can also play a key role in our society. They also work with the government (both local and national) to implement policies that will be beneficial to the senior citizens of our country.

11. Child Rights and You (CRY): Founded in 1979 by Rippan Kapoor, CRY is doing some great work for child rights. It works at the grassroots level to elevate the lives of thousands of underprivileged children who are denied of basic rights.


A famous Indian NGO, Chintan was the first in India to receive the US Innovation Award for Empowerment of Women and Girls, for its outstanding contribution in this field. The award was received by Chintan’s founder Bharati Chaturvedi from the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. A further aid of USD 5,00,000 was announced by the US Secretary of State to facilitate Chintan’s endeavor to continue its noble efforts. The Award is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation “through the Secretary’s International fund for Women and Girls”.

India was estimated to have had around 3.3 million operational NGOs in 2009. The figure has no doubt increased in 2013. The best part about Indian NGOs is that they don’t blow their own trumpets and do their work seriously and sincerely. They contribute more than their fair shares for the upliftment of the society and enrichment of the lives of hapless and downtrodden people of India. Without their contribution, it would have come as no surprise if the picture of India was as grim as those of  sub-Saharan countries.

Related Information:

NGOs and Rural Development in India

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