Role Of Ngos In India

NGOs play an important role in the expansion of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The State Governments partner with NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation to implement the Mid-Day Meal Programme in order to increase the number of children they reach out to. Thus many NGOs work towards countering hunger and malnutrition.

This Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has proved instrumental in improving the quality and reach of the programme. There are many facets that the Government considers when selecting a non-profit to partner with. Such organisations must be transparent and ‘of proven integrity’. Below are the NP-NSPE 2004 criteria for choosing an NGO:

  • The voluntary agency should not discriminate in any manner on the basis of religion or caste and creed. It should not use the programme to propagate any religious practice/s.
  • The voluntary agency should be a body that is registered under the Societies Registration Act or the Public Trust Act and should have been in existence for a minimum period of two years.
  • It should commit to undertaking the responsibility of supplying on a no-profit basis.
  • It should be willing to work with PRIs/municipal bodies in accordance with relevant guidelines of the State Government.
  • It should have the financial and logistic capacity to supply Mid-Day Meals on the requisite scale.
  • It will furnish to the body assigning the work to it an Annual Report along with an audited statement of accounts in terms of all grants received from the State Government, both in cash and kind, duly certified by an approved Chartered Accountant.

An excerpt from the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) 2004 guidelines

‘In urban areas where a centralised kitchen setup is possible for a cluster of schools, cooking may (wherever appropriate) be undertaken in a centralised kitchen and cooked hot meal may then be transported under hygienic conditions through a reliable transport system to various schools. There may be one or more such nodal kitchen(s) in an urban area, depending on the number of clusters which they serve.’

In order to implement the programme effectively, an NGO must be well-equipped in handling the logistics of the programme. A non-profit must have ‘financial and logistic capacity to supply the mid-day meal on the requisite scale.’

According to the Ministry of Education (earlier known as the Ministry of Human Resources Department),

“The state government shall be fully responsible in implementing the programme through NGOs support either for a cooked meal or pre-cooked food variant in eligible schools. To this extent, the State Government or the NGO concerned may mobilise resources for conversion of food grains into a cooked meal.”   

– The Guidelines, in Annexure IX Para 7

The provision allows organisations like Akshaya Patra to set up kitchens and implement PM POSHAN (Mid-Day Meal Scheme) and gives them the means to raise funds for the deficit incurred during programme implementation.

Keeping it Transparent

A National-level Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (NSMC) monitors the overall programme and ensures that NGOs cater to all the guidelines laid down in the NP-NSPE. Some duties carried out by the committee include:

  • ‘Mobilising community support and promoting Public-Private Partnership for the programme’
  • ‘Monitoring programme implementation, assessing its impact, and taking corrective steps’

The role of an NGO is to ensure accountability and transparency. It is crucial for good governance and successful implementation. To maintain transparency, many organisations opt to maintain annual reports that are available to the public. Discussed below are some of the other ways by which an NGO can maintain transparency and accountability towards the community:

  • Financial Transparency: Being clear about the finances and expenditures of the NGO can help maintain accountability.
  • Quality of Products/ Services provided: NGOs should ensure the quality of the product or services they are providing. For example, an NGO that feeds the poor should always provide quality and nutritious food.
  • Respecting Commitment: As a Non-governmental Organisation, they must adhere to their own policy commitment, worker commitment and quality commitment. This ensures that everyone involved commits to the values of their NGO which is reflected through their work.

As a part of PM POSHAN (Mid-Day Meal Scheme), it is crucial that the people in charge of daily proceedings are people of proven integrity. This should be validated by the National Committee for Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare, Government of India.

Secondly, NGOs should maintain meticulous records of each and every expenditure that is incurred in the implementation of PM POSHAN (Mid-Day Meal Scheme).


The involvement of private entities in the implementation of PM POSHAN (Mid-Day Meal Scheme) has resulted in visibly better performance.

  • Over 118 million (11.8 crore) children are covered under PM POSHAN (Mid-Day Meal Scheme, making it the largest school lunch programme in the world.
  • By leveraging the resources of private entities or NGOs, like Akshaya Patra, by bringing them on board as implementing partners and making provisions for them to be self-sufficient, the Government has successfully involved the entire society in helping the children of our country. This has expanded the role of NGOs in education in India. 
  • It has encouraged Private-Public Partnerships that have been instrumental in ensuring the success of the programme. With the aid of these organisations, the Government has managed to scale the scheme to massive proportions.
  • The scheme has impacted children in many ways. Enrolment, attendance and retention have improved, classroom hunger has reduced, malnutrition has decreased and socialisation among children of all castes has increased.
  • On a global scale, the Indian Government has worked hard to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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