How to register an NGO
In Indian society, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) play a very vital and important role between the government and citizens to ensure the easy access to fundamental rights and government’s developmental schemes.
Being an interface between the common people and government administration, an NGO’s role in streamlining the services for the masses is vital for the healthy functioning of any democracy. To register an NGO requires understanding of certain procedures and laws which we have listed down for you:
Section of constitution
NGOs in India are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which is a central Act. According to Section 20 of the Act, the following societies can be registered: charitable societies, military orphan funds or societies, societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts, for instruction, the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education, the foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms for general use among the members or open to the public, or public museums and galleries of paintings and other works of art, collection of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instruments or designs.
In India non-profit organizations can be registered as trusts, societies, or a private limited company, under Section-35 Company. Non-profit organizations are always self-governed by a ‘board of trustees’ or ‘managing committee’ comprising individuals who generally serve in a fiduciary capacity.
Basic registration documents are:
i. A registration form, that is available without charge at the district registrar’s office
ii. A memorandum of association and rules and regulations of the organization
iii. Consent letters of all the members of the managing committee. A minimum of seven members comprise a managing committee
iv. Authority letter duly signed by all the members of the managing committee
v. Copy of rules and regulations certified to be a correct copy of original rules and regulations by at least three managing committee members
vi. A declaration by the members of the managing committee that the funds of the society will be used only for the purpose of furthering the aims and objects of the society
vii. In case any government servant holds elective office, previous sanction of the government (concerned minister) is needed
All the documents mentioned above are required to be submitted in duplicate, together with the required registration fee. Except for mahila mandals, registration fee for all NGOs is Rs 50. Mahila mandals are required to pay a registration fee of Rs 10.
Upon receiving the set of documents, the registrar’s office issues a certificate to the society once the verification procedure is complete. While filing the registration papers, it is important to bear in mind that a society by the same name is not already registered in the state.
Important things to remember
The NGOs registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, are ‘not-for-profit’ organizations, and as such they are prohibited from distributing any monetary residual to their own members.
In case the NGO’s registration certificate is not renewed within one year from the expiration of the period of validity of the certificate, the NGO becomes an ‘unregistered society’. In such cases special procedures are required to revive the lapsed registration, which include the discretion of the government.