What are the different types of NGOs in India?


The United Nations (UN) first used the term "NGOs" in 1945 to distinguish between public and private organizations. These are non-governmental organizations that operate independently from oversight from the state. They are not-for- profit organizations that promote social welfare. They serve as a bridge between the government and the general public. NGOs' function in society is to execute a mission or set of ideals that they are committed to, and they may embark on a variety of missions for the benefit of their communities, including advocacy, education, community development, humanitarian aid, and environmental protection.

The duties of an NGO is to focus on all advocacy, social, environmental, and human rights matters.They actively work to advance and enhance the social and political climate of the society.

Here in this blog we intend to uncover the role of the different types of NGOs, their respective areas of operation and functions along with the overall impact on society. Let's Dive right in.

Fact Check: The Central Statistical Institute of India reports that the country has 33 lakh NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) or CSOs (Community Service Organizations).

Types of NGOs in India

  • Types of NGOs in India based on their legal structure
    • Trust:A trust can be created for an NGO if there is property involved.A trust is a type of legal body created by one party in which the first party transfers assets to the second party for the benefit of the third party. These are governed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Indian Trust Act of 1882.Private trusts are created for the benefit of a small group of people, such as select individuals, families, or other groups of people, whereas public trusts are created for the benefit of the whole public. Some examples of popular trusts in India are CRY (Child Rights and You), Care India Child Foundation, Social and Healthy Action for Rural Empowerment etc.
    • Society:A society is a group of people who work together towards a common objective or serve a common purpose; this objective or purpose could be the advancement of any literary, charitable, or scientific endeavour.According to the Indian Society Act of 1860, we can register an NGO as a society. It is well run and carried out by a controlling council and governing community. Some examples of popular societies in India are Centre For Community Economics and Development Consultants Society, HelpAge India etc.
    • Section 8 Company:It is governed by the Registrar of Companies, a division of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and was created in accordance with Section 8 of the Companies Act. Typically, it is created to advance religion, popularize culture and art, social welfare, sports, environment conservation etc. A section 8 company is required to use every penny of its income, gifts, and grants to further the predetermined goals and refrain from paying any dividends to its shareholders.
  • Types of NGOs in India based on their geographic limitation
    • Community-Based NGOs:Individual initiatives lead to the formation of CBOs, or community-based organisations.an NGO that is based in the community where it was founded and generally only serves that area. It helps to meet the community's needs. They are non-profit, non-governmental, or charity groups that work to meet the needs of the local community.
    • City-Wide NGOs:Organizations that operate inside the boundaries of a city and have a particular focus area are known as city-wide NGOs.They majorly work around advocacy, capacity building, skill development, environment conservation etc.City-wide NGOs are essential for fostering sustainable development, tackling urban inequality, and improving quality of life in their particular urban areas.
    • National NGOs:Organizations that function within the boundaries of a particular country are referred to as national NGOs. Their major areas of focus are socio, economic, environmental concerns arising within the said nation. With bigger budgets, larger scale of operation and huge capacity building bandwidth they often tend to create bigger impact.
    • International NGOs:As the name suggests these NGOs work across nations and tackle pressing global issues such as humanitarian, disaster relief, environmental and social. Goes without saying that a diverse focus area, global networks are a given with these organizations.
  • Types of NGOs in India based on their orientation
    • Participatory NGOs:NGOs that stress on active participation of its end beneficiaries and local community right from planning to implementation are termed as participatory NGOs. This type of practice not only incites community engagement but also calls for social inclusion and puts the local expertise and knowledge to good use. Eg: Pradan, Jan sahas.
    • Empowering NGOs:The NGOs operating under this umbrella seek to empower and enable people to make educated decisions and actively engage in social, political, and economic processes. The target is achieving self sufficiency, capacity building and personal development. Eg: Pratham, Smile foundation.
    • Service Orientation NGOs:These NGOs' main goal is to provide assistance and support to underserved areas directly. Actionable efforts are taken to address all difficulties, whether they are social, economic, or developmental. Due to the extremely hands-on methodology used, the intended beneficiaries of these NGOs can anticipate receiving immediate aid.Eg: Akshay Patra, Magic Bus.
    • Charitable Orientation NGOs:These organizations focus their efforts on providing aid, resources, and support to the poor and marginalized in order tAkshay Patrao address their immediate needs. Charitable NGOs' primary traits include meeting basic necessities and responding quickly to emergencies. These NGOs frequently have strong volunteer and community support at work.Eg: Nanhi Kali, Goonj.
  • Types of NGOs based on their Key Focus Areas
    NGOs that operate in India focus on a wide range of issues in order to serve the diverse society in various ways. All with the intention of supporting their recipients and making both short-term and long-term impacts. Here is a broad classification of the key focus areas that NGOs often cater to in the Indian landscape.
    • Education:NGOs play a vital role in capacitating the education sector. The efforts can be in many different ways. Teacher training, inclusion workshops, digital literacy campaigns, scholarships, community engagements are just a few. The idea behind every effort taken, every advocacy conducted is to establish an equitable education environment that is accessible to one and all.
    • Skill Development and Livelihood:Skill development and livelihood generation is one sector that directly contributes to uplifting households economically. NGOs come up with vocational training, technical training as well as soft skill training plans to enable the individuals from the community to be able to acquire necessary skills to land a job or start something of their own, thus helping them earn bread and butter.
    • Healthcare:NGOs in India carry out a wide range of activities in the healthcare sector and design their programmes to deal with serious issues.Building healthcare facilities, meeting the social and health needs of vulnerable populations including the elderly and women, addressing specific health issues such thalassemia, epilepsy, etc, advocating for health rights, and implementing preventive health programmes are some of the major projects.
    • Food and Nutrition:In India, 224.3 million individuals had malnutrition in the year 2022. NGOs in India operating in the food and nutrition sector have been working hard to address this problem, and their initiatives have been essential in the nation's fight against hunger. These NGOs run initiatives in rural and urban areas, often partnering with other organizations to feed people who are the most vulnerable, such as children, the elderly, and low-income families.
    • Human Rights:Around the nation, numerous NGOs focus their efforts on defending human rights and putting an end to human rights violations. In the area of human rights, NGO organizations have served as the nation's conscience by acting quickly to examine incidents by conducting research and publishing the findings.
    • Disaster Aid and Management:NGOs play a crucial role in coordination as well as for response, mitigation, reduction, and recovery from disasters. The NGO reactions post any disaster includes providing immediate food assistance, temporary housing, emergency medical care, removing debris and restoring habitat, trauma treatment, and raising families.
    • Child and Youth Development:NGOs significantly contribute to the empowerment of society's weak, impressionable, and underprivileged groups, such as children and youth through improving the lives of these groups. NGOs help to attain economic sustainability by assisting in the eradication of poverty, supporting employment growth, and fostering revenue production.

Wrapping Up

We just saw how different types of NGOs in India span across several classifications, from geographical to focus area based. What remains common though is the zeal to touch lives and be a constant source of support during trying times for their beneficiaries. NGOs across India are not just ensuring immediate action but are largely adopting an overall holistic approach towards a better future of their target population and capacity building of the community at large.

The fact that so many NGOs strive every single day to enrich the lives of people all around shall be celebrated to say the least. We as individuals must take an effort to contribute to the cause that we find ourselves the closest to and do our bit to accelerate growth and enablement.