While Bain is right in saying that private sector needs to do much more for India to realise Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, one also needs to consider the factors underpinning charity and giving.
The India Philanthropy Report 2019, by Bain and Company, shows that philanthropy in the country has been growing. Private giving, the report points, grew at 15%, to Rs 70,000 crore in FY18 over Rs 40,000 crore four years ago. What’s more, during the same period, growth in public funding for the social sector was only 10%. Of course, one also has to consider the base—the Centre’s education budget for FY19 alone was was Rs 80,000 crore. Indeed, if one is to consider the entire social sector spending of the Centre alone, then private charity to similar causes stands at just a third of this. But the growth in private donations is impressive nonetheless.
While Bain is right in saying that private sector needs to do much more for India to realise Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, one also needs to consider the factors underpinning charity and giving. Donations to religious institutions are indeed higher than contributions for social sector development. But, can one expect the rich in a developing economy to be as generous as those in a developed one? While the US is replete with examples of rich donating to public universities and charities, examples from India can be counted on the fingers of one hand. India does not have as many billionaires as, say, China or the US. High growth will create more well-off and this, in turn, will spur greater giving. For this, the government must do its bit to push growth, else, it will be footing the bill for social development while this never proves enough.