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NGO Regulation Network

NGO Regulation Network

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Published by Parthiban Gowri

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Published by: Parthiban Gowri on Feb 06, 2012
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Home About effective regulation Regulation around the world NGO Sector and Regulation Review Tool News archive About us Please tell us what's happening in your country Resources in Arabic Resources in Thai Resources in Dari

The right of all citizens to form associations or unions is guaranteed by theConstitution of India, Article 19(1) (c). Charitable organisations usually take the legal form of a trust, society, or nonprofit company (also called not-for-profit organisations or NGOs), and are regulated by a variety of state and central government agencies, laws and authorities. Unsurprisingly for such a large and diverse country there is also a wide diversity of charitable organisations within India. However, while the sector is undoubtedly large, there remains a lack of reliable data about its size and scope.

The Legal Framework
There are a variety of federal and state laws which are applicable to charitable organisations and NGOs operating in India. These include: Indian Trusts Act of 1882: this Act applies only to private trusts throughout India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950: this legislation deals with charitable trusts in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Charitable and Religious Trusts Act 1920: this law extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Government can extend its coverage to Jammu and Kashmir by notification in the Official Gazette, Many states also have their own Public Trusts Acts, for further information, please visit the following website: www.indianngos.com

applicable in Gujarat and Maharashtra. are regulated by the Charity Commissioner in those states. Benefits of registration: Non-profit organisations may be eligible for tax exemption under theIncome Tax Act 1961. Companies Act 1956: section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 deals with non-profit companies. and governs tax exemption of not-for-profit organisations operating in India. and other states have passed completely new laws to regulate societies leading to considerable variation across states. and • use all funds for the public benefit. However some regions had already enacted their own laws. and the advancement of any other object of general public utility. clothing and blankets. The Registrar of Companies is the regulatory authority for Section 25 companies. Regulatory framework The Registrar of Societies has regulatory responsibility for societies.Societies Registration Act 1860: this is a federal Act and is applicable generally to all states. This Act is a federal Act and applies to non-profit companies operating in any state. education. Charitable trusts registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act. A society can either register at the state level with the Registrar of Societies or at the District level with the District Magistrate or the local office of the Registrar of Societies." NGOs involved in relief work and in the distribution of relief supplies to the needy are 100% exempt from Indian customs duty on the import of items such as food. The Income Tax Act 1961 is a federal Act which applies in all states. • spend 85% of its income on the objects of the organisation. This stipulates that a not-for-profit organisation must: • be organised for religious or charitable purposes. medical relief. medicine. Reporting Requirements: The Societies Registration Act 1860 provides that each society has to submit an annual report and list details of its managing body every year to its local Registrar of Societies. The . Charitable purposes include "relief of the poor. others have made amendments or modifications to the Act. Funds received from overseas are governed by the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976.

please see the following website: www.requirement to file accounts differs between states. Self-regulation There are a number of self-regulatory initiatives that have been developed by the Indian NGO sector. Government . Additional requirements for all directors and significant shareholders are laid out in the Companies Act 1956. The Alliance has developed an Accreditation System and Peer Group • .922 crores.indianngos. and • enhancing public access to information about charitable organisations. and those with an annual income below Rs 1500 have to submit income and expenditure statements within 6 months of closing of accounts to the Charity Commissioner’s office. The NGO Sector A 2003 report by PRIA estimated that there are nearly 1. • an annual report. • improving the infrastructure of the various regulatory bodies.com All trusts registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act have to file annual reports. The Credibility Alliance is a consortium of voluntary organisations committed towards enhancing accountability and transparency in the voluntary sector through good governance. In addition. and • important resolutions. such as: • The Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) provides advice and guidance to public trusts and societies in India.4% of the adult population and their estimated total income for 1999-2000 was Rs. All section 25 companies have to file: • audited accounts. trusts with an income above Rs 1500 per annum have to submit audited accounts.NGO policy The Voluntary Action Cell for overall policy co-ordination is under thePlanning Commission.3 million NGOs operating in India. • an annual return with the Registrar of Companies. which included recommendations such as: • simplifying the procedures for registration. For further information on the reporting requirements in different states. employing around 3. they hold seminars and training programmes as well as providing publications. 17. The Planning Commission sponsored a review of charities administration in India.

gsi. Powered by Punch Top of Page • . This initiative was implemented by the One World Trust with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation. Invisible yet widespread: The nonprofit sector in India.• Review Model to strengthen and enhance the legitimacy and the credibility of individual organisations within the NGO sector.uk • © Charity Commission for England and Wales. the legal profession and donor organisations. Issue 2. PRIA Working Paper. 2002 Does Civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India. 7. Civil Society Accountability: Principles and Practice a toolkit for civil society organisations in India is a capacity building guide for organisations who wish to assess their accountability capabilities and practices. Vol. A working group from the seminar will now take forward the proposals to improve the regulatory system in India and begin a dialogue with the government on this issue.cooper@charitycommission. the International Journal of Notfor Profit Law.gov. February 2005 The Work of the International Programme in India In 2010 the International Programme hosted a seminar on the future of regulation of India’s NGO sector in collaboration with the National Law University. please email Phil Cooper atphil. Delhi. For more information about our work in India. This seminar brought together NGO representatives. For more information see the One World Trust Independent Analysis of the sector: NGOs India offers some excellent insights in to civil society operating in India.

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