This paper presents the findings of research on the activities, target groups, funding base and linkages of a sample of 67 grassroots NGOs working with the urban poor and on the extent to which their work is subject to internal or external evaluation. The paper demonstrates the diversity of NGO characteristics within one particular Indian city, Bombay. The paper highlights certain concerns for the future role of the non-governmental sector, especially in the context of the changing role of the state. As NGOs move in to fill the gap left by the public sector, encouraging rapid growth of expectations, complicating objectives and necessitating trade-offs between the competing demands made on them by other actors, they may be ill-equipped to respond effectively to an expanding role in the urban centre.
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