Government Study on NGOs in India

by megha on Jul 08, 2010      Category: Others Tags: survey statistics study on NGOs

A recent study commissioned by the government put the number of such entities, accounted for till 2009, at 3.3 million. That is one NGO for less than 400 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India.

Even this staggering number may be less than the actual number of NGOs active in the country. This is because the study, commissioned in 2008, took into consideration only those entities which were registered under the Societies Registration Act,1860 or the Mumbai Public Trust Act and its variants in other states.

While the government will begin studying the finances of the sector in the second phase of the survey, estimates from within the sector suggest that NGOs, or NPIs, raise anywhere between Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 80,000 crore in funding annually. 

The government has been the biggest donor — Rs18,000 crore was set aside for the social sector in the XI Plan — followed by foreign contributors (according to the latest figures available, around Rs 9,700 crore was raised in 2007-08). Around Rs 1,600-2,000 crore was donated to established religious bodies such as the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

Individual donors are emerging as the biggest and most lucrative source of funds. According to an internal study by a leading foreign NGO headquartered in the UK, donations by individuals are expected to have grown from around Rs 2,200 crore in 2005 to Rs 8,100 crore by a conservative estimate, and to around Rs 21,000 crore by more liberal estimates.

Private sector companies, one of the biggest donors in the developed world, are, however, yet to wake up to the phenomenon of charity and philanthropy in India. Indian companies spend less than one per cent of their annual profits on such activities, against 1.5 per cent to over 2 per cent spent by their UK and the US-based counterparts, says the study by the international NGO. 

“The government study included, these are all broad estimates. Nobody really knows the ground reality because this sector has grown very fast in the past many years. Besides, there have been no efforts to maintain an official database or even to encourage such entities to be transparent about their activities as well as fundings,” said Soumitro Ghosh, founder CEO, CSO Partners, a Chennai-based organization set up to encourage transparency in the functioning of the sector.


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megha's picture


I am a PhD student at the University of Southern California with research interests in robotics. I did my undergraduate studies from IIT Bombay. Being a member of NGO Post is an attempt at doing something for the community that I am a part of.

Most of my posts here are due to Chandni ( more



RJ's picture


This article is very interesting. I am conducting a similar study on charity in India. It would be great if you could help me with link to the original source or report.


megha's picture

Hi RJ,
Please visit the link given in the beginning of the article. You should be able to contact the author through that.

RJ's picture

Hi Megha,

Thanks a lot. Found the original report. Btw, its good to know that you are also IITB alumnus (Even I am an IITB alumnus)

Thanks a ton,

megha's picture

Good to know, Rupal :) Hope you find NGO Post useful!

Venita's picture

Hi Rupal,

I'm doing research on this topic as well and would like to find out where to get the original report.

Your help will be greatly appreciated!


mugunthan's picture

Hi Rupal,
How did you get access to original report. is it available on the internet?. If not whom should we contact to get the original report.

mukund's picture

is it possible to get the information of NGOs in just the cities, (bangalore, chennai, mumbai)

Goli's picture

There are several places where you can get information about ngos in metros. for bangalore for example you can contact, bangalore Cares. iVolunteer is another place where you can get contact details of lot of NGOs.
You can also get lot of information, by using the search on NGOPost, you will be able to get information about various initiatives and organizations.

rabindra's picture

hi, i am an animation film design student from NID Ahmedabad and i am going to take up a similar thing during my vacation in kolkata, next month... its basically about how the NGOs work.i am thinking of visiting to some NGO's over there.if anyone have any suggestion or any links that could be useful for this then plz mail me

Trina 's picture

Hi,I am Trina, part of the Volunteer Action Division at CRY-Child Rights and You and based in Kolkata. Ravindra, would be great if you could let us know kind of work you're looking for. We have a volunteer base in Kolkata (and across all the metros) and we also have parter organizations. do get in touch my id. and our contact no. 033 24169507

rabindra's picture

well! i m not sure that i will b able to volunteer for a particular NGO.its a self initiative small research on the way the NGO's work. i want to find out how successful are the NGO's, wat are the problems they face, wat are the solutions or possibilities of making them more successful,in a bigger level n how can i use my learning from NID in future...but right now i am stuck in my campus.we are having a very short vaccation and i dont know when will i be able to go to kolkata. but i am trying and if i get to go to home in kanchrapara(west bengal)i will surely get in touch with your organization.if you could help me doing this research plz let me know

Trina's picture

Sure Ravindra...would be happy to get in touch if you manage to come to Kolkata

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