Development has become the pivot that structures governing processes across the world. Juxtaposition of development with economic growth has not only transformed the structural relationship amongst state, market and citizens but also transformed the process of governance, particularly in ‘developing’ countries. The retreat of the welfare state in developing countries has been coterminous with the pervasion of neoliberal model of governance. Role of the state has been relegated to that of administrator. The emergence and proliferation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is a testament to the shrinking role of state. The discourse of development attributes various characteristics to NGOs; efficient, cost-effective, grassroots representatives and so on and so forth. The articulation of this discourse is couched in vocabulary of economic terms that effectively denudes ‘issues’ or structural barriers of their socio-political character. NGOs emphasize projects instead of movements; this not only individuates the structural issues but also reduces the same to ‘techno-managerial’ problem that could be resolved by experts through the blueprint of developmental plans. In India, there are about 3.1 million NGOs- one NGO per 400 Indians, which is double the number of primary schools and triple of primary hospitals. Besides, NGOs have acquired the capacity to influence the developmental discourse precisely by becoming an entity in ‘knowledge-power’ framework. On the other hand, NGOs collaborate with corporate sector to deliver the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and depends on them for their funds. Contrary to popular understanding, this alliance amongst NGOs, state and market effectively precludes any scope of independence and autonomy of NGOs. The aim of this paper is to situate NGOs in the shifting trajectories of political economy of India since 1947 and thus highlight a general trend across the developing countries which in my opinion shall be called as “NGOisation” or ‘depoliticisation’ of development.
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