According to national policy on volunteer organizations …to be considered part of the non-profit sector the entity must be
- Organisational– an institution with some meaningful structure and permanence;
- Non-governmental– not part of the apparatus of government;
- Non-profit-distributing– not permitted to distribute profits to its owners or directors. They are required to be ploughed back in the organisation
- Self-governing– not controlled by some entity outside the organisation; and
The Indian Constitution provides a distinct legal space to social capital / civil society institutions:
- through its Article on the right to form associations or unions – Article 19 (1)(c);
- through Article 43 which talks of States making endeavor to promote cooperatives in rural areas;
- through explicit mention in entries made in Schedule 7.
The presence of Civil Society Organisations ensures
- depth and resilience in civil society
- expression to citizens’ voices
- enables them to take responsibility for how their society is performing
- allows them to talk to their government in organised ways.
- It can help to scale up productivity and competitiveness.
- It can contribute to inclusive wealth creation.
- Enhance the people centricity of the government.
- Alternative perspectives
- Committed expertise
- An understanding of the local opportunities and constraints
- Capacity to conduct a meaningful dialogue with communities, particularly those that are disadvantaged.
Civil society groups in our country can be classified into following broad categories:-
- Registered Societies formed for specific purposes
- Charitable Organisations and Trusts
- Local Stakeholders Groups, Microcredit and Thrift Enterprises, SHGs
- Professional Self-Regulatory Bodies
- Bodies without having any formal organisational structure
- Government promoted Third Sector Organisations
Different types of civil society organizations
- Civil rights advocacy organizations:to promote human rights of specific social groups e.g. women, migrants, disabled, HIV, sex workers, Dalit people, tribal people, and the likes.
- Civil liberties advocacy organizations:to promote individual civil liberties and human rights of all citizens, rather than focusing on particular social group.
- Community based organizations, citizens’ groups, farmers’ cooperatives:to increase citizen’s participation on public policy issues so as to improve the quality of life in a particular community.
- Business and industry chambers of commerce:to promotion policies and practices on business.
- Labour unions:to promote the rights of employees and workers.
- International peace and human rights organizations:to promote peace and human rights.
- Media, communication organization:to produce, disseminate, or provide production facilities in one or more media forms; it includes television, printing and radio.
- National resources conservation and protection organizations:to promote conservation of natural resources, including land, water, energy, wildlife and plant resources, for public use.
- Private and public foundations:to promote development through grant- making and partnership.
- Also the Civil society includes– Political Parties; Religious Organizations; Housing cooperatives, slum dwellers and resident welfare associations.