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Mains Answer Writing


Q1) Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in the shaping participatory democracy, but foreign funding of NGOs is seen as distorting this objective. Discuss and suggest measures to address the issue of lack of trust between government and NGOs.

 (250 Words/15 Marks)


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are non-profit, voluntary, citizen-based organizations that function independently of government on social and environmental issues. NGOs are known to be the voice of the voiceless in governance. However, there have been concerns regarding foreign funding of NGOs and its distorting impact on the NGOs’ objectives and functioning.

The impact of foreign funding of NGOs is as follows:

                Positive Impact

               Negative Impact

1. Foreign funding enables NGOs to access resources, expertise, and networks beyond national


E.g., collaboration between local NGOs and international NGOs.


2. It can enhance their capacity to address social issues, implement projects, and promote human


E.g., training and international


3. Unaddressed Issues: Foreign funding supports initiatives that are not adequately addressed by the

government, contributing to a more inclusive and vibrant civil society.

E.g., environmental NGOs like Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).


4. Cosmopolitan Influences: Foreign funding tends to strengthen modern values through emphasis on humanitarian concerns as part of the global family.

In words of Mrtin Luther King Jr. –

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


5. Policy Inputs: Foreign funding brings with it contemporary discourse on global issues.

E.g., role of Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) on internet governance, issues of IPR, and the right

to privacy.

1. Foreign funding can divert NGOs’ focus from grassroots issues towards the interests of foreign donors. This can reduce their relevance and



2. Lack of transparency: They are not

covered by RTI Act. Opacity on funding

leads to money laundering and misuse of funds for personal embezzlement.

E.g., ED’s actions against journalist Rana Ayyub.


3. It could create a perception of bias or external interference, compromising their credibility as independent and bipartisan agents of development.


4. NGOs could be used for subversive

activities like opposition to infrastructure projects, Left-wing


E.g., the issue of ‘urban naxals.’


5. Lobbying: NGO’s that have interface with MPs can bring foreign influence of policy decisions.

E.g., allegations of ‘Foreign Direct Instruction’ for MPs.

Perception of NGOs as external elements limits collaboration between the government and NGOs, undermining opportunities for effective governance.

 To address the lack of trust between the government and NGOs, the following measures can be considered:

  1. Mandating detailed disclosures of foreign funding sources and their utilization by suitably amending the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
  2. Implementing robust financial auditing mechanisms can ensure that utilization of foreign funds is aligned with the objectives of the NGOs.

E.g., action against Greenpeace India.

  1. Establish a publicly accessible database or portal that provides information on registered NGOs, their sources of funding, and their activities.

E.g., NGO Darpan by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment can be replicated by other ministries as well.

  1. NGOs should disclose conflicts of interest when voicing opinion on certain issues as is done in corporate reporting by corporate-owned media.

E.g., on Genetically-modified crops.

  1. Diversifying funding sources can mitigate concerns related to foreign influence and enhance the financial independence of NGOs. Governments can promote the availability of domestic funding through tax incentives for donations and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The concerns about the distorting impact of foreign-funding of NGOs require greater transparency, better regulation, and efforts for cultivation of trust between the government and NGOs. Constructive and cooperative relationship between the government and NGOs will help promote effective governance and advancing societal goals.


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