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According to World Bank Development Indicator Report of 2004, about 300 million people in India live below poverty line. This section of Indian population is socially, economically and politically disadvantaged. In order to empower them, Governmental and Non-governmental voluntary agencies, business houses and philanthropic individuals have been focusing on employment generation and creating means of livelihood for them. Attempts have been made to generate income and employment for them in sectors such as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME), urban informal sector, and non-profit institutes. But one needs to observe whether or not in the process of employment generation in issues such as viability of such tiny entrepreneurial models, social compliance, environmental concern and long term sustainability of economic activities get compromised and lost. Absence of any appropriate and regulatory mechanisms for said sectors may have been further aggravating those issues.
The paper will impinge upon the critical need for addressing the long term sustainability of business activities being promoted under the camouflage of social mission of development organisations. The paper argues against those businesses that operate on the common pretext of being engaged in social sector, addressing needs of the poor and dispossessed, working on vulnerability and social exclusion but not able to pay much attention to environmental and sustainability issues. This paper suggests that since nonprofit organizations are far from being economical and environmentally viable, it is necessary to look into aspects of the sustainability and environmental perspective of business activities of these NGOs.
Now the challenge is to combine issues of livelihood and employment with the objective of sustainability and environmental protection. The paper provides some cases of NGO's which are working meaning fully for the environment and sustainability.