For most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India, the past few summers have been relentless. The government has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licenses of about 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs after they were found to have allegedly violated various provisions of the Act, thus barring them from receiving any foreign funds. Many civil society organizations have accused the government of blocking the aid flowing for the welfare of the marginalized communities. Microsoft aims to spread some cheer among the hard hit NGOs in India by offering its Microsoft cloud services to empower them technologically.
The eligible NGOs can receive free Microsoft Azure credit worth $5000 per year to increase their technological insight, performance, and operational smoothness. Azure is an integrated club of cloud services, analytics, computing, web and mobile app storage to NGOs for improving their efficiency. With the needs of these organizations increase they can utilize the Microsoft’s data centers for improving their services.
This push for technological empowerment can be understood alongside the Indian government’s various digitalization attempts like the recent demonetization program. The government has been pushing towards digitalization of all financial transactions to curb tax evasion which is a huge problem faced by the country.
It was about time that even NGOs, which have a huge operational area especially in rural areas, upgraded their digital infrastructure. The Government of India since the Liberalization drive of 1991 retreated from the public sector leaving a huge majority of the population without any social security. This gap has been increasingly filled by the large number of NGOs. Microsoft India has extended the cloud platform to various NGOs like Share India, LEPRA Society and CAP foundation, etc. It is ironic that India, which has a huge soft power with regard to IT technology, languishes behind much of the world in improving its ICT infrastructure. The aim of cloud computing will be to empower these organizations which are working to better human lives.
Since most of the NGOs do not have the financial capital to set up their information technology portals, apps, and databases, their organizational efficiency is hampered. This lack of funds to upgrade their ICT infrastructure has often been a hindrance to step up their work and reach a larger target group.The grant by Microsoft comes at the right time as it will help them to scale up their services and improve the organizational efficiency leading to better services, streamlining of cumbersome tasks and also saving of funds.
Take the case of Don Bosco YaR Forum which collaborated with a software provider to create Child MISS(Management Information System and Services). It is a comprehensive Child Tracking System which is used for effective data management, monitoring and reporting. Hosting the solution on the Azure Public Cloud enabled it to scale up the infrastructure and the NGOs responsiveness. It also enabled Child MISS to maintain a holistic database of all children of the youths at risk by keeping tabs on their care, protection, knowledge and safety.
This is just an example of how Microsoft Cloud can empower the non profit organizations to achieve their targets with greater efficiency, insight, and capacity. Even as Indian NGOs scale up their work amidst a rising population, Microsoft Azure can help them in providing quick response to the citizens amidst a fast-changing social scenario.