Philanthropy even after being a part of the Indian culture and various religions has been very minuscule in India. In this context, highlight its significance and state the factors that are holding back philanthropy in India.

Philanthropy represents voluntary donation to worthy causes. It is advocated by several religions including Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Significance of philanthropy:

  • It can augment government’s funding for priority sectors, e.g. healthcare.
  • Given fiscal responsibility rules, philanthropy can be a game changer in the sphere of education, as the required spending in the field of education as a percentage of GDP is around 6% however the actual spending is far less.
  • It can build human capital and enhance the demographic dividend.
  • It aids post disaster relief efforts.
  • It prevents excessive accumulation of wealth, and reduces inequality, e.g. Warren Buffet’s ‘the giving pledge’ for millionaires.
  • It enhances the contentment and quality of life of the donor.

Factors holding back philanthropy in India:

  • Poor penetration of digital payment channels that aid easy donations, especially in rural areas.
  • Lack of a rating mechanism that can help identify trustworthy charitable organizations.
  • Compared to the US and UK, India has fewer industry leaders who can set an example when it comes to philanthropy.
  • Lack of awareness regarding the tax deductions available on donations to certain funds, e.g. Prime Minister’s relief fund.
  • Charitable organizations are facing challenges like multiplicity of registering authorities, delayed registration and corruption in registering agencies.
  • Some Indians may feel that information regarding worthy charitable organizations is tough to find.

Way forward:

A simplified legal framework for charitable organizations will aid philanthropy.

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