Evolution of Philanthropy & the Development Ecosystem

Over the last decade, philanthropy has been able to contribute in a big way to India’s fast-maturing development sector due to the significant rise in quantum of philanthropy, movement towards more structured approaches to giving, and growth and diversification of the support ecosystem.

Proliferation in the Quantum of Philanthropic Giving

Domestic philanthropic funding has rapidly grown from approximately INR 12,500 crore in 2010 to approximately INR 55,000 crore in 2018. Contributions by individual philanthropists have also recorded strong growth in the past decade. In 2010, individual contributions accounted for 26% of private funding, and as of 2018 individuals contribute about 60% of the total private funding in India, estimated at approximately INR 43,000 crore.

Growth in domestic private funding
(values in INR CR)

Growth in contributions by individual philanthropists
(Values in %)

Source: India Philanthropy Report Series

Stronger Support Ecosystem for Effective Philanthropy

The ecosystem surrounding and supporting philanthropy has experienced transformative change in the past decade, with the proliferation of new roles and actors offering a range of services to support philanthropists.

Research and advisory support providers like CSIP, Bridgespan, Sattva, help philanthropists take an evidence-driven approach to deploying funds
India Philanthropy Initiative, Dasra Philanthropy Week, SDG Philanthropy Platform etc. actively engage philanthropists and help shift the narrative towards strategic giving
In addition to mandatory compliances, nonprofits invest in increasing accountability and transparency with support from well-recognised organisations such as GuideStar, Credibility Alliance, Charities Aid Foundation India etc.
Capacity-building programmes support philanthropy by enabling institutions and their leaders to effectively use philanthropic capital for on-ground impact. Examples include N/Core, Dasra Social Impact Leadership Program, NSRCEL by IIM-Banglore etc.
Field builders like Dasra mobilise multiple stakeholders towards collaborative visioning and giving, resulting in the emergence of investment-ready solutions for philanthropy to have large-scale impact
International as well as homegrown organisations such as J-Pal, 3ie, Sambodhi Research & Communications, and others promote a culture of monitoring, evaluation and learning across the sector, which translates into more robust donor reporting
The government introduces multiple platforms for engaging philanthropy including the proposed social stock exchange and PPP models such as the Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme

Source: Dasra

Development outcomes across income, health and gender have witnessed improvements in averages, however this growth has not been all-encompassing

While averages have improved for multiple development outcomes over the last decade, the progress has been inequitable, underscoring the need for philanthropy to now consciously focus on India’s most vulnerable. Beyond improvements in averages, an intentional glance at development indicators for the large population of people caught in a vicious cycle of vulnerability makes a clarion call for targeted action.

While the poverty rate is down, income inequality is rising, and is more pronounced in certain geographies

Averages on Development Indicators Improved...
Economic indicators like per capita income have more than
between 2008 & 2018
...but a deeper look
shows wide disparities
The Gini Wealth Coefficient has gone from




indicating growing income inequality

While the poverty rate is down, income inequality is rising, and is more pronounced in certain geographies

Averages on Development Indicators Improved...
Multidimensional poverty decreased by half to 27.5% between
2005-06 -------------- 2015-16
271+ M
people climbing out of poverty
...but a deeper look
shows wide disparities
More than 50% of those still suffering from multidimensional poverty are concentrated in
Bihar Jharkhand
Uttar Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh

Improvement in health indicators is disparate across social demographics

Averages on Development Indicators Improved...
The maternal mortality rate decreased by 21%, between
...but a deeper look
shows wide disparities
More than 50% of all maternal deaths in the country occur within tribal communities

Improvement in health indicators is disparate across social demographics

Averages on Development Indicators Improved...
Infant deaths decreased by 26%, between
Under-five mortality rates in India are at par with the global average and on track to achieve the SDG target
...but a deeper look
shows wide disparities
In the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh
the under-five mortality rate is 78 per 1,000 live births, the highest in the country

Inequality in India disproportionately affects girls and women

Averages on Development Indicators Improved...
The NITI Aayog’s Composite Index for SDG 8
‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’
depicts positive averages and majority Indian states are ranked as front-runners
...but a deeper look
shows wide disparities
The rate of female labor participation is
17.5%, far behind the 100% SDG target. Some states’ rates are even lower: Bihar, 2.8%; Uttar Pradesh, 9.4%; and Assam, 9.8%

Sources: World Bank; ‘Public Good or Private Wealth? Oxfam Inequality Report - The India Story’, Oxfam; ‘Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2018: The Most Detailed Picture To Date of the World’s Poorest People’, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative; UNDP; UNICEF; India Spend; NITI Aayog SDG India Index; Dasra


Making a Case for Vulnerability

As philanthropy and development matured, many issues began to get the necessary attention; however, other areas were left behind. Here onward, we focus on the vulnerabilities that remain despite a rapidly expanding philanthropy space. We classify vulnerable segments by geography, population and sector. Within these segments, we identify the existing need and evaluate how and why they present a good opportunity for philanthropic funding. These vulnerable segments also present opportunities for economic impact throughout the country.


As we assess progress on SDGs across states, there is a significant divergence in development. A deeper look into the SDG performance for aspirational districts reveals disparities within districts in the same state. Some of the highest disparities can be seen in the SDGs for Quality Education and Gender Equality.

  State District
Good health and well being Quality education Gender equality Clean water and sanitation Affordable
and clean energy
Decent work and economic growth Industry, innovation
and infra.
cities and communities
Life on
Peace justice & strong inst.
Front Runner Tamil Nadu
77 34 57 39 92 53 32 53 67 56 75 39
64 33 62 71 33 59 32 37 63 85 75 21
90 31 44 37 8 43 32 58 47 21 74 38
68 24 58 39 97 10 28 60 20 0 5 61
NA 17 49 32 48 17 32 46 30 24 51 NA
Performer Bihar
41 32 39 37 45 51 29 27 47 41 75 59
57 32 37 1 67 33 32 38 36 32 69 28
23 32 26 2 71 40 32 32 52 16 47 82
Composite scores:
Not Available

Notes: District SDG scores were derived by mapping 81 TADP (Transformation of Aspirational District programme) metrics to SDGs and by developing a score of SDGs based on relative performance of districts to each other. Indicative examples of disparate performance have been highlighted in the table above.

In 2018, the government  of India launched the Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme (TADP) to improve 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. The programme is based on  convergence of state and central schemes, collaboration between specially appointed central and state-level Prabhari officers (officers at the level of additional secretary appointed as guardians)  for aspirational districts with district collectors, and competition among comparable districts.

Early indications of social and economic returns on investment, combined with government support  towards India’s aspirational districts, make a case for philanthropy to invest more catalytic capital for systemic and sustainable development of India’s vulnerable geographies.

Performance on select health and nutrition metrics

Pregnant women regularly taking supplementary nutrition under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

March FY18

March FY19

Home deliveries attended by a skilled birth attendant (SBA)-trained health worker

March FY18

March FY19

Children under six years of age with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM)

March FY18

March FY19

Notes: Delta in composite score is calculated as the difference in scores across five themes of ADP for 112 aspirational districts; composite scores were calculated by normalizing data from 81 data points by Niti Aayog; the health and nutrition metrics fall within the umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme; TADP is the Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme
Source: “Champions of Change” dashboard for Aspirational Districts (2018 and 2019) – Niti Aayog; Bain & Company analysis

Average YoY Per Capita Income Growth rate (2018-19) (Values in %)

Note: Per capita income is calculated by dividing annual household income (urban and rural) by population (urban and rural); growth rate of aspirational and non-aspirational districts has been calculated via average across districts in a state; AD = Aspirational districts; GDP data only available for 108/117 aspirational districts
Source: Nielsen

Vulnerable Sectors: Sewage Treatment

India’s progress on Sustainable Cities and Communities is behind target

low variance from target
HIGH variance from target

Notes: Chandigarh is excluded from evaluation, as it is an outlier; sewage includes faeces, urine and other human body waste as per AMRUT; sanitation-related parameters are used, as defined by Dasra and UN Global SDG
Source: SDG India Index Baseline Report 2019 – Niti Aayog

Almost half of all 36 identified states and union territories have an SDG score of 49 or lower (the weakest level of access to infrastructure for civic amenities such as housing and sewage treatment) and no state has achieved the Niti Aayog target. Upon further evaluation, Sustainable Cities and Communities has weak performance on sanitation-related issues, predominantly on sewage treatment.

Key Sanitation Parameters 2019 Target Average India Best-performing states Worst-performing states
Access Urban households with an individual toilet
Households having an improved source of drinking water
Districts verified to be open defecation free
Treatment Wards with 100% door-to-door waste collection
Waste processed
Installed sewage treatment capacity as a proportion of sewage generated in urban areas

Notes: Best- and worst-sperforming states represent the top and bottom ~33 percentile for each SDG parameter; Chandigarh is excluded across parameters given it is an outlier across most performance metrics; sewage includes faeces, urine and other human body waste as defined by AMRUT
Source: SDG India Index Baseline Report 2019 – Niti Aayog; Bain & Company analysis

While access to toilets has improved, the country continues to lag on treatment, which poses a significant health threat and risk to the sustainability of sanitation solutions.

% of Anthropogenic wastewater (includes sewage, industrial and agricultural waste) treated



Emerging Markets

Developed Countries

Note: Anthropogenic wastewater includes all liquid waste as a result of human activity (including sewage, municipal, industrial and agricultural waste); Emerging market countries defined as per MSCI index; Developed countries defined as per the UN classification
Sources: Eurostat (EU-SILC); MSCI Index; UN

Additionally, when measured against global peers, India’s anthropogenic waste-water treatment is the lowest benchmark; 2% for India vs. 30%+ for peers.

Although funding for sewage treatment has been growing, more funding has been allocated for toilet construction than treatment over the last four years.

GOI budget allocation (INR Cr.)

Note: Sixty-eight percent of AMRUT’s overall budget is allocated to sewage and septage management. actual deployment toward sewage and septage management is unknown
Sources: Press Information Bureau; WaterAid Report, Amrut, Economic Times publication, Hindustan Times publication; Bain & Company analysis

Philanthropic investment in sewage treatment will support sustainable and holistic sanitation, which, in turn, is expected to add approximately INR 237,600 crore in GDP annually.

Given the critical role of sewage treatment in ensuring sustainable sanitation and cities, the existing investment gap, the growing government acknowledgement, and the potential for high economic impact per dollar of investment, philanthropic capital invested in sewage treatment is likely to yield robust returns.

Vulnerable Populations: Adolescents

India’s largest demographic group is adolescents. They make up 20% of the total population. Women are underrepresented within this cohort, with 895 female to 1,000 males. Besides being outnumbered, adolescent girls in India are highly vulnerable to child marriage, teenage pregnancy and education  when compared with global peers. India’s progress for adolescent girls has been piecemeal.

Secondary education: Female out-of-school rate in secondary school (2017)

Teenage pregnancy: births per 1,000 women between age 15-19 (2017)

Note: Emerging markets (EM) includes Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey. Data for other emerging market countries is unavailable; secondary education is defined as 11- to 18-year age group basis UNICEF; Out-of-school rate is the inverse of enrollment rate (1 - enrollment rate) Sources: World Bank; UNICEF; NFHS; Bain & Company analysis

To get the full economic benefit from this demographic, development of adolescent girls needs to be viewed holistically and requires collaborative action across multiple sectors. Philanthropic capital can play a big role in supporting this action, and help India accelerate holistic development for its adolescent girls. Reducing adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities improves the lives of adolescents in the present and the future, as well as for the next generation, or what the World Health Organization refers to as a “triple dividend”. Hence, every rupee invested in this demographic will have an exponential economic impact.

Programmes to Improve Health

INR 300

By investing INR 300 per person per year in adolescent health programmes


A 10x economic boost can be achieved

Programmes to Reduce Child Marriage

INR 247

By investing INR 247 per person per year in programmes to reduce child marriage


A 6x economic boost can be achieved

Note: These returns are basis UN global study on the impact of investing in adolescent programmes; conversion rate used: 1 USD = INR 65.12 Source: UN global estimates 2017; Reserve Bank of India

GDP Boost from Reducing Adolescent Pregnancy

  • Estimate of a young mother’s foregone annual income over her lifetime
  • Additional benefits can be incurred to GDP, as children born to adult mothers are less likely to be undernourished

GDP Boost from Adolescents Completing Education

  • Estimate of economic impact based on job productivity
  • Costs of dropping out of secondary school are higher than dropping out of primary school

Notes: Cost of adolescent pregnancy and cost of education figures are as of 2011; conversion rate used: 1 USD=INR 46.67
Sources: World Bank; Reserve Bank of India

Out of school Child marriage Teenage preganancy
Adolescent girls aged 11 to 18 years that are not enrolled in secondary school Women aged 20 to 24 years who were married before the age 18 Women aged 15 to 19 years who have had a live birth

Note: Secondary education is defined as children within the age group of 11- to 18-years by UNICEF; NFHS: National Family Health Survey
Source: National Family Health Survey, World Bank

Transforming adolescent girls’ vulnerability into empowerment requires a holistic approach to their development—and significant funding. We estimate that India needs approximately INR 11,000 crore just to ensure completion of secondary school for adolescent girls, age 11 to 18 years. Further funding is required to finance other interventions, such as awareness programs to reduce teenage pregnancy and child marriage, and those to boost employment. The opportunity is huge, given that philanthropic capital directed to secondary education has the potential to add approximately 5X per rupee invested in additional GDP. This impact is significantly higher if we consider the ripple effect of secondary education on reducing child marriage and teenage pregnancy coupled with the triple dividend impact on the development of adolescents. In addition, on-going government support coupled with early signs of improvement in adolescent girl development from private and government interventions further emphasizes that philanthropic capital focused on adolescent girls can have a multiplier effect.


Systems Solutions

India’s most vulnerable remain outside of mainstream development due to systemic inequalities. The disadvantaged are unable to adapt to unpredictable situations that can push them deeper into vulnerability, such as climate change, economic risks and socio-political threats. Systems solutions address the challenges that arise from an aggregation of problems rather than a single discrete issue. They offer a more befitting response than solutions with a singular, linear focus.

Features and Descriptions

Value Addition

  • Boosts the possibilities of driving normative and policy-level change
  • Increase the prospects of higher return on investment as the systemic interventions may impact many more people than initially targeted by the intervention

Value Addition

  • Increases the chances of success, sustainability and ownership of the solution due to involvement of affected stakeholders
  • Leverages multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral expertise
  • Allows philanthropy to engage with its capital, expertise and/or networks to accelerate impact

Value Addition

  • Provides replicable blueprints or models to be leveraged for similar future investments, improving cost-effectiveness
  • Offers the opportunity for philanthropy’s innovation and risk capital to be invested in scalable solutions that have the buy-in of partners like the government

Value Addition

  • Ensures high responsiveness and dynamism in the solution through frequent loops of monitoring, evaluation, learning and discussion, for consistent course correction

Value Addition

  • Enables consistently transparent channels among ecosystem actors
  • Fosters trust-building and effective collaboration between multiple stakeholder groups

Source: Systems Thinking: An introduction for Oxfam programme staff, Oxfam; Solving the World’s Biggest Problems: Better Philanthropy Through Systems Change, Stanford Social Innovation Review; Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems: Approaches for Impact, Approaches for Learning, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Explore 2 systems solutions that demonstrate the approach and potential for serving India’s vulnerable segments:

As India transitions into a new decade, it is faced with unpredictable challenges that require agile thinking and action from stakeholders across the ecosystem. To keep its promise of achieving sustainable development for all by 2030, India urgently needs to focus on its most critical and underserved needs. Philanthropy has a significant role to play in accelerating this shift through an intentional pivot towards India's most vulnerable and investment in solutions that can address these challenges through an integrated, systems approach.

It is only through such an intentional and urgent focus that India will be able to unlock the potential of all its 1.6 billion people and accelerate the country towards truly equitable, transformative and resilient development over the next decade.

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