CSR and NGOs: Aiding in governance

News: Recently, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused the application for renewal of FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC). Similar such instances impact the synergy between NGOs and Government. But, the research shows that it is the synergy of NGOs, Government and corporates is the way for development.

Must read: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and NGOs – Explained, pointwise
About the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and NGOs

Section 135 of the Companies Act mandates corporates who are beyond a certain level of profits and turnover to pay at least 2% of their net profits before tax to the development space. This law gives corporates the necessary impetus to collaborate with non-state actors like Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) grants have assumed importance to provide the much-needed sustenance to NGOs and CSOs as key players in non-state governance. This strengthening of citizenry-private partnerships is a major component of development activities.

Read more: FCRA Amendments are Crippling Work of NGOs
How do CSR and NGOs help in India’s development?

-Non-state actors bring capital to corporate companies and help the state by engaging in welfare activities. When non-state actors take a large load off the state’s shoulder, the state can focus more on governance.

-Helping niche business opportunities, for instance, An NGO distributing clothing for work as done by Goonj.

-NGOs and voluntary groups/organisations have played a significant role in building the capacities of citizens to hold governments accountable.

-The Right to Information (RTI) campaign became law after decades-long efforts by NGOs. The law has brought a dramatic change in the degree of transparency in India, with most Government ministries falling under its ambit.

-The District Collector calls on vetted NGOs/CSOs to implement various schemes during the normal course of the day.

-NGOs and CSOs sometimes do the heavy lift and ensure that schemes reach the last person, even in the face of disaster.

The CSR law created a legal framework for corporates to work with NGOs and CSOs. NGOs and CSOs in India will play a major role in mobilising citizen action to right various wrongs. They can help contribute to the better polity as well as better governance. Most importantly, they have the legitimacy to operate as integral cogs in the wheel of good governance.

Source: This post is based on the article “Aiding in governance” published in The Hindu on 4th Jan 2022.

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