Journal Article

NGOs and Personal Politics: the Relationship Between NGOs and Political Leaders in West Bengal, India

Published on 30 June 2017

Much of the literature on development NGOs has focused on their ability to offer “development alternatives” and how their distinctiveness is threatened by increased dependence on governments and donors.

However, more recent literature has increasingly focused on the constructive potential of blurred boundaries between NGOs and the state, arguing that a degree of overlap provides NGOs with increased mechanisms for influence. There has been less research on the interactions between NGOs and political parties, and how political connections affect the relationship between NGOs and the state. This article contributes to addressing that gap.

The article explores the relationship between NGOs and political leaders through a study of local NGOs in the Indian state of West Bengal. It uses a combination of a survey and case studies, as well as interviews with political leaders and government officials, to question some dominant assumptions about how the state uses NGOs and how government funding for NGOs impacts on the relationship between NGOs and the state.


Tom Harrison

Research Fellow


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