Planning & Convergence
National Policy on Voluntary Sector -2007
Preamble :
1.1 This Policy is a commitment to encourage, enable and empower an independent, creative and effective voluntary sector, with diversity in form and function, so that it can contribute to the social, cultural and economic advancement of the people of India.
1.2 The voluntary sector has contributed significantly to finding innovative solutions to poverty, deprivation, discrimination and exclusion, through means such as awareness raising, social mobilization, service delivery, training, research, and advocacy. The voluntary sector has been serving as an effective non-political link between the people and the Government. This policy recognizes the important role that the voluntary sector has to play in various areas and affirms the growing need for collaboration with the voluntary sector by the Government, as well as by the private sector, at the local, provincial and national levels.
Scope of the Policy :
2.1 In the Policy, voluntary organizations (VOs) mean to include organizations engaged in public service, based on ethical, cultural, social, economic, political, religious, spiritual, philanthropic or scientific & technological considerations. VOs include formal as well as informal groups, such as: community-based organizations (CBOs); non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs); charitable organizations; support organizations; networks or federations of such organisations; as well as professional membership associations.
2.2 To be covered under the Policy, VOs should broadly have the following characteristics:
They are private, i.e., separate from Government
They do not return profits generated to their owners or directors
They are self-governing, i.e., not controlled by Government
They are registered organizations or informal groups, with defined aims and objectives.
Objectives of the Policy :
3.1 The specific objectives of the policy are listed below :
3.1.1 To create an enabling environment for VOs that stimulates their enterprise and effectiveness, and safeguards their      autonomy;
3.1.2 To enable VOs to legitimately mobilize necessary financial resources from India and abroad;
3 To identify systems by which the Government may work together with VOs, on the basis of the principles of mutual      trust and respect, and with shared responsibility;
3.1.4 To encourage VOs to adopt transparent and accountable systems of governance and management.
The following paragraphs describe how these objectives are to be achieved.
Establishing an Enabling Environment for the Voluntary Sector :
4.1 The independence of VOs allows them to explore alternative paradigms of development to challenge social, economic and political forces that may work against public interest and to find new ways to combat poverty, deprivation and other social problems. It is therefore crucial that all laws, policies, rules and regulations relating to VOs categorically safeguard their autonomy, while simultaneously ensuring their accountability.
4.2 Voluntary organizations may be registered as societies, as charitable trusts, or as non-profit companies under Central or State laws. Some States have adopted the Societies Registration Act (I860), with amendments, while others have independent laws. Similarly, laws relating to charitable trusts vary across States. Over time, many of these laws  and  their corresponding  rules  have  become  complex and restrictive, thus leading to delays, harassment and corruption. As the nodal agency for interface between the Government and the Voluntary Sector, the Planning Commission will encourage State Governments to review prevailing laws & rules and simplify, liberalise and rationalise them as far as possible. In order to facilitate registration of non-profit companies, the Government will examine measures to simplify procedures under section 25 of the Companies Act (1956), including those for license, registration, and remuneration to member-employees.

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