India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI) is a not-for-profit trust registered by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, to provide a credible window for Overseas Indian Philanthropy in India’s Social Development. The objective of the Foundation is to facilitate philanthropic activities by Overseas Indians through innovative projects and instruments such as micro credit for rural entrepreneurs, self help groups for economic empowerment of women, best practice interventions in primary education and technology interventions in rural health care delivery.
The trust is exempt from the provisions of Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) under Section 31 of the Act. The Foundation will subject all philanthropic activities to International Accounting Standards and through objective criteria encourage credible partnerships with national and international level non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for effective project implementation across causes and geographies in India.
|“This Foundation will serve as a credible institutional mechanism to direct overseas Indian philanthropic propensities into human development efforts in India. The Foundation will assist overseas Indians to contribute to the cause of education, health and rural development in their erstwhile home villages, districts or states. It will also partner with credible NGOs and philanthropic organisations actively engaged in social development, thus providing a strong public-private partnership bridge between overseas Indians and their target beneficiaries.”
—Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
IDF-OI will be a credible mediating link, at one hand providing complete support to the philanthropist in fulfilling his philanthropic purpose of contributing towards the cause close to his/her heart, while at the same time overseeing the implementation of the project along with ensuring timely back reporting and accountability.
It is well recognized that the Indian Diaspora represents an important economic powerhouse with the ability and willingness to invest time, knowledge and resources in the socio-economic development of India. It is this diasporic capital that IDF seeks to engage. The High Level Committee for Indian Diaspora also had strongly recommended specific efforts to tap the philanthropic propensities of Overseas Indians. The IDF is in line with these recommendations.
|“The India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians is your window to partner in the India tory”
— Mr. Vayalar Ravi
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs
The IDF was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh on January 8, 2008 during the 6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Explaining its need and rationale, the Prime Minister had said: “This Foundation will serve as a credible institutional mechanism to direct Overseas Indian philanthropic propensities into human development efforts in India. The Foundation will assist overseas Indians to contribute to the cause of education, health and rural development in their erstwhile home villages, districts or states. It will also partner with credible NGOs and philanthropic organizations actively engaged in social development, thus providing a strong public-private partnership bridge between overseas Indians and their target beneficiaries”.
The MOIA is in the process of registering the IDF as a non-profit organization in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and Gulf to qualify for exemption from federal income taxes. A portal for receiving online donations is also under development.
The first meeting of the Foundation’s board of trustees took place on November 4, 2009. The board is chaired by the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Mr Vayalar Ravi. The Vice Chairman of the board is the Secretary, MOIA, Mr Parvez Dewan. The CEO is Mr G Gurucharan. There is a provision for 12 members, four each from amongst eminent Overseas Indians, resident Indians and from the Government.
1. Lead overseas Indian philanthropy into India and facilitate partnerships through a single window facilitation by building public-private partnership.
2. Establish and maintain a “Social Capital and Philanthropy Network” in India that can provide a list of credible institutions, projects and
3. Function as a clearing-house for all philanthropy-related information.
4. Promote accountability and good practices in Diaspora philanthropy.
Overseas Indian philanthropy in India has systemic constraints which need to be addressed through an appropriate institutional arrangement. It is observed that:
a) Diaspora philanthropy has been sporadic with a few groups or individuals participating, primarily through individual networks such as alumni groups, and family trusts rather than through a sustainable and credible institutional arrangement.
b) Philanthropic capital has been fragmented and dispersed across several social causes and geographies with less than optimal outcomes. Often these flows do not match national social sector development priorities as reflected in the Eleventh Five Year Plan.
c) For want of a credible single window, several less-than-credible private institutions with poor accountability have mushroomed, seeking Diaspora philanthropy. This has often eroded the confidence of the Overseas Indian in engaging more proactively in philanthropy in India.
d) The larger or wealthier Overseas Indian philanthropic organizations or individuals are able to comply with the regulatory framework of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that governs philanthropic activities and institutions in India. The vast majority of the Overseas Indian middle class, however, despite strong philanthropic inclinations and the ability to individually commit smaller resources, finds it difficult to fulfill FCRA requirements and often choose not to participate. Consequently, the large Overseas Indian philanthropist middle class remains out-side this engagement.