A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.
Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations system differs depending on their goals, their venue and the mandate of a particular institution.
Issues in relation to their functioning are as follows:
- Accreditation remains a big challenge as it is very difficult to distinguish whether an organization wants to work for the cause or has been set up only for the purpose of receiving government grants.
- Foreign funded NGOs have been responsible for organizing agitations and scuttling development projects in India.
- NGOs are often seen as encroaching on centuries-old tradition and culture of the people, and lead to mass protest at times. Ban of Jallikattu, after the PIL by PETA is one such example.
- Allegation of money laundering
- Over dependence on funds from the government dilutes the willingness of NGOs to speak out against the government.