The official GuideStar India blog

Welcome, NGOs and all those interested in NGOs in India!

If you are running an NGO or working for one, you will find opportunities and resources for your organisation.

If you or your organisation want to direct your time, money, products or services to NGOs that can can make the most effective and efficient use of your donations or grants, you will find this blog and useful to announce your offer to NGOs.

You will also get to read about statistics and issues concerning transparency & accountability of the Indian voluntary sector.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do you know how many NGOs are there in India?

Any one trying to understand the voluntary sector in India has this one question that pretty much remains unanswered.
Is it 5000, 50,000, 500,000 or 5,000,000?
The only reliable number that is often quoted is fromthe PRIA- John Hopkins University study conducted in the year 2001 that estimated the number of NGOs in India at 1.2 million. If that number sounds too large, the recent estimates we hear is anywhere between 3-5 million. You might wonder why there is so little statistical information about the voluntary sector in India.

Some of the reasons are:
  • There are multiple registration authorities for NGOs.
  • As annual filings are not required by all forms of not for profit entities, there is no count of active organisations.
  • Registrars that require annual filings are not fully geared to track filings electronically.
  • Not all NGOs have exemptions under the Indian Income Tax Act to provide tax benefits to donors. Records of the estimated 50,000 NGOs that have such benefits are scattered at over 100 locations.
  • NGOs that receive foreign contributions are registered under FCRA with the Ministry of Home Affairs. This is the single largest source and that too is estimated to be less than 50,000 NGOs.

GuideStar is reaching out to various sources of information on NGOs (government, foundations, CSR divisions of corporates, intermediaies in the voluntary sector, networks and membership organisations, NGOs and individuals) to encourage NGOs they know of, to profile their organisations on We believe that information about NGOs in India would soon be only a click away.

Unlike in the US and UK where the government provides information on charities to GuideStar and NGOs go online and update their pages, in India we will need the help of many hands and hearts. We would need to convert several reams of paper information in many different languages to be digitised. More importantly, we need volunteers who can help NGOs write their content, to showcase their work and articulate their needs online. If you would like to help, write to us at

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