How to Get NGO Registered in India?

How to Get NGO Registered in India?

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a pivotal role in India’s socio-economic development by addressing various social issues, advocating for change, and providing essential services to the marginalized and underserved communities. 

If you’re passionate about making a positive impact on society, starting an NGO in India can be a rewarding endeavor. However, before you embark on this journey, it’s crucial to understand the legal procedures and requirements for NGO registration in India.

India boasts a remarkable figure of more than 3.3 million registered NGOs, indicating that there exists approximately one NGO for every 400 Indian citizens. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps involved in registering an NGO in India, including the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and the documentation required.

Understanding the Legal Framework

In India, NGOs are primarily registered under three legal structures:

Trust: Registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, a trust is an arrangement where a property is held by trustees for the benefit of specific individuals or purposes.

Society: Registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, a society is a group of individuals coming together for charitable, literary, or scientific purposes.

Section 8 Company: Registered under the Companies Act, 2013, a Section 8 company is formed for promoting commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of the environment, or any other charitable object.

Eligibility Criteria

Before proceeding with the registration, it’s essential to meet the following eligibility criteria:

Trust: For trust registration, there is no specific eligibility criterion. Anyone can create a trust for a lawful purpose.

Society: To register a society, you need at least seven members who are not related to each other. These members will form the governing body of the society.

Section 8 Company: To register a Section 8 company, you must have a minimum of two directors. These directors can be individuals or corporate bodies.

Step-by-Step Guide to NGO Registration

The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) did a special study to find out how many registered NGOs there are in India. The results show that India has at least 31 lakh NGOs. That’s more than twice the number of schools in the country and 250 times more than the number of government hospitals. Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of registering an NGO in India:

Step 1: Decide on the Type and Objectives

Before initiating the registration process, define the type of NGO you want to establish (trust, society, or Section 8 company) and clearly outline its objectives and mission. Having a well-defined purpose is essential for smooth registration and effective functioning.

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Name

Select a unique and meaningful name for your NGO. Ensure that the name you choose is not identical to or resembles the name of any existing organization. Check the availability of the name with the Registrar of Societies or the Registrar of Companies, as applicable.

Step 3: Create the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Rules/Bylaws

Before October 1, 2010, there used to be a stricter requirement for the information included in the memorandum of association when incorporating a new company. However, after that date, the requirements have been lessened. 

For societies and Section 8 companies, draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Rules/Bylaws that outline the organization’s objectives, governing structure, membership criteria, and decision-making processes. These documents must be signed by the founding members in the presence of witnesses.

Step 4: Register the NGO

Depending on the chosen legal structure, follow these steps:

Trust Registration: Create a trust deed that includes the organization’s objectives, names of trustees, and the terms and conditions of the trust. Register the trust deed with the local Registrar of Trusts. Ensure you have two witnesses for the trust deed.

Society Registration: Prepare the Memorandum of Association and Rules/Bylaws as per the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Submit these documents, along with an application, to the Registrar of Societies in your state. Once approved, you will receive a registration certificate.

Section 8 Company Registration: Register your NGO as a Section 8 company by applying to the Registrar of Companies (ROC). Prepare the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association according to the format prescribed under the Companies Act, 2013. Ensure that the MOA includes the charitable objects of the organization. After approval, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation.

Step 5: Obtain PAN and TAN

Once your NGO is registered, obtain a Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN) from the Income Tax Department. These are necessary for financial transactions and tax compliance.As of the financial year 2016-17, the Income Tax Department has issued more than 410 million PAN cards.

Step 6: Apply for 12A and 80G Registration

To avail of tax exemptions and receive donations with tax benefits, apply for registration under Section 12A and Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. These registrations are essential for fundraising activities.

Step 7: Open a Bank Account

Open a bank account in the name of your NGO. Ensure that the bank account complies with the requirements of the registration authority and is used exclusively for NGO-related transactions.

Step 8: Compliance with Other Laws

Apart from the primary registrations mentioned above, NGOs must also comply with other laws, including the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA), if they plan to receive foreign funds. Ensure that you adhere to all applicable laws and regulations, including maintaining proper accounts and annual filings.


Starting and running an NGO in India can be a fulfilling journey, provided you follow the legal procedures diligently. It’s crucial to have a clear vision, a well-defined mission, and a commitment to social welfare. 

By understanding the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and the step-by-step registration process, you can embark on your mission to make a positive impact on society and contribute to the betterment of India’s communities. 

Remember that compliance with the laws and regulations governing NGOs is essential for the organization’s credibility and sustainability.The registration certificate is provided together with the memorandum or articles of association following the NGO’s registration process.

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