Domestic philanthropic capital invested in the most vulnerable populations, sectors and geographies can accelerate India’s sustainable development

MUMBAI, Feb. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — An investment of Rs 11,000 crore every year in secondary education for adolescent girls has the potential to add Rs 47,000 crore to GDP per anum, according to the India Philanthropy Report, co-created by Bain & Company and Dasra.

Taking a broad 10-year view of the Indian philanthropic landscape, the report in its 10th edition finds that philanthropic funding has been steadily increasing in India and has begun moving to a bolder and more structured approach with support from a stronger and more diversified ecosystem. However, it also reveals that there is inequitable progress on important developmental indicators despite significant rise in private and government funding in the social sector.

“There has been a quantum growth in domestic philanthropic funding with private giving leading the way. Having said this, there are a wide spectrum of vulnerabilities left unaddressed driven in good measure by the systemic inequities and aggregation of problems that keep India’s most vulnerable outside of mainstream development. We must invest in the system level change that focuses on causes. These systems solutions can bring multiple groups, disciplines and stakeholders together to create long-lasting change,” said Dinkar Ayilavarapu, Partner, Bain & Company.

Domestic philanthropic capital invested in the most vulnerable populations, sectors and geographies can accelerate the move towards sustainable development in India, the report recommends. Apart from investments in education for adolescent girls, an investment of up to Rs 12,000 crore in sewage treatment over the next five years could add Rs 237,600 crore per anum to GDP. While India’s focus on sanitation has improved toilet access, the report highlights that sewage treatment needs are largely unmet. The lack of focus on sewage treatment has resulted in India’s poor performance on SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities & Communities. As per the latest government estimates available, 70% of urban India’s sewage is untreated, constituting the biggest source of water pollution in the country.

Highlighting both the need and the opportunity for investing in vulnerable populations, the report says that India’s 120 million adolescent girls need immediate investment to enable them to complete secondary education, fight child marriage and teenage pregnancy. For all out-of-school girls in the 11-18 age group to complete a secondary education alone, India needs an annual investment of Rs 11,000 crore. This investment can make a major contribution to the 5X boost expected in GDP per anum. If all of India’s adolescents finished school, the country can potentially add $ 10 billion to the national GDP.

It also calls to enable the success of the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme’ (TADP) that improves the performance of 117 districts by focusing on five parameters: health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure. So far, about 60% of aspirational districts have shown 0.5% to 4% higher growth in per capita income.

“Philanthropic efforts have been critical in improving India’s performance on multiple development indicators. However, when we go deeper and move beyond national averages, it is clear that significant pockets of vulnerable populations still require support. By focusing on these populations and driving work at a systems level, a massive untapped opportunity exists for philanthropist to transform India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity,” said Deval Sanghavi, co-Founder of Dasra, a strategic philanthropic organization.

Inequitable progress on SDGs has created underserved and underfunded sectors that need immediate attention to move the needle on sustainable development. The surge in philanthropic giving is accompanied by a trend towards more structured and informed giving that is beginning to move to bolder approaches and underserved areas of investment like climate change.

Arpan Sheth, Partner, Bain & Company and co-author of the report, said, “India’s progress in the social sector is yet to address all areas of critical need. Philanthropy can play a catalytic role in accelerating progress across the vulnerable segments, especially those where there is some political will and civil society action already at work, thereby helping India accelerate its journey towards an inclusive and sustainable development by 2030.”

The India Philanthropy Report (IPR) indicates philanthropic funding has been steadily increasing in India. Overall, it has grown from Rs 12,500 crore in 2010 to Rs 55,000 crore in 2018 with the share of individual contributions growing from 26% to 60% of the total private funding. There has also been a quantum growth in domestic philanthropy funding with individual philanthropists leading the way.

Over the course of its decade-long journey, the India Philanthropy Report series traces the tremendous evolution in the philanthropy ecosystem. While philanthropy has come a long way, given the complexity and enormity of development challenges in India, there is a need to set higher aspirations. To keep its promise of achieving sustainable development for all by 2030, India urgently needs to focus on its most critical and underserved needs. Systems solutions offers a promising approach for philanthropy to give in a manner that is bold, outcome-led, and most importantly, catalytic for India’s development. The report displays case studies of systems solutions from the Indian context.