In India, the most impressive engines for economic development we observed were NGOs, non-governmental organizations. In America, we’re more likely to call them “non-profits.” We observed schools, orphanages, women’s centers – lots of types of NGOs making a difference. In many cases, they weren’t big organizations, but they made a difference, which if allowed to grow and expand could someday make a big difference in India’s development.
Here’s another side of NGOs. India’s Prime Minister is blaming American and Scandinavian NGOs for interfering with India’s attempts to build nuclear power plants, particularly in Tamil Nadu.
“You know what’s happening in Koodankulam,” Mr Singh said, referring to months of protests which have stalled the commissioning of two 1,000-MW nuclear reactors at the plant in Tirunalveli district.
“The atomic energy programme has gone into difficulties because these NGOs [non-governmental organisations], mostly I think based in the United States, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply.”
Referring to a 2010 government decision to defer the commercial cultivation of the genetically modified vegetable BT brinjal, Mr Singh said biotechnology had enormous potential and India must make use of it to increase agricultural produce.
“But there are controversies. There are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces.
I guess I should revise my opinion – pro-growth NGOs are a key to development, but anti-growth NGOs are a problem in any country.