AVPN Global Conference 2023 | 20 - 22 June 2023


Social Investment Landscape


The Indian social economy is one of the most advanced in Asia, driven by collaborative social investment, a relatively developed impact investing market and an engaged corporate sector


Executive Summary

Following liberal economic reforms in the 1990s, India is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The country’s economic growth has been driven by the services sector, which has been consistently growing and accounted for 49% of GDP in 2017. After substantive reforms to improve its business environment, India is now ranked in the top 100 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

Despite impressive economic growth, India continues to face significant development challenges. Poverty alleviation and equitable access to basic social services including education and health care remain at the forefront of national socio-economic discussions. India’s sustainable development will be dependent on the country’s ability to maintain economic growth while addressing the root causes of staggering poverty.

Backed by a rich tradition of social entrepreneurship, a collaborative philanthropic culture, a developed impact investing market and an engaged corporate sector, the Indian social economy is one of the most advanced in Asia and could become the key driving force towards systemic impact. Next generation philanthropists have emerged as a driver of innovative social investment. Meanwhile, the Indian impact investing and ESG investing markets are becoming increasingly mainstream. There was an impressive 25% increase in the number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in 2017-2018 compared to 2016-2017. Finally, the resounding success achieved by the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond (DIB) has paved the way for a scaled-up version, the Quality Education India DIB, launched in September 2018.

India’s Fact File

India’s 2018 Fact File

1.4 billion


USD 9,454 billion


World Rank 3


GDP Growth

USD 7,059

Per capita GDP (PPP)

World Rank 126

81 91 in 2016

World Giving Index Rank

28%giving money 27%volunteering time 36%helping a stranger


Number of Millionaires




Global Competitiveness Index

Global Competitiveness Rank (2016-2017) – 39/138


Ease of Doing Business Rank

Ease of Doing Business Rank (2018) – 100/190
Source: ADB, Charities Aid Foundation, Credit Suisse, World Economic Forum, World Bank. Figures are accurate as of March 2019


SDG Dashboard

With 16 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still far from being achieved, India continues to pursue ambitious targets towards social and economic development and environmental sustainability. Poverty elimination remains a key national objective and has been approached in a relatively comprehensive way through promoting continued economic growth while ensuring equitable access to public services among both the rural and growing urban population.
The Digital India scheme, along with other initiatives to increase access to finance, will help to meet the needs of a growing consumer class that is projected to reach 89 million households by 2025. India is also investing significantly in its services and industry sectors through the Skill India scheme, which will develop the next generation of highly skilled labour for growth in manufacturing and information and communication technology (ICT). As women make up 48% of the total Indian population but only 24% of the workforce, the Indian government is mainstreaming gender issues into programmes such as Startup India and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) to promote female entrepreneurship.
Schemes such as Clean India and Healthcare for All focus on social welfare through the provision of basic sanitation, adequate housing and universal health care. India has also focused on improving agricultural productivity to ensure food security. There are plans to double farmers’ incomes through investments in market linkages, crop diversification and infrastructure development. The Electricity for All programme emphasises India’s commitment to climate action.

Source: sdgindex.org (2018)

Note: The “traffic light” colour scheme (green,yellow, orange, red) illustrates how far a market is from achieving a particular goal

Government Initiatives

Government Initiatives to Address Development Gaps


SDG Goals


  • GDP contribution of agriculture continues to decline from 18% in 2015 to 16% in 2017.
  • Rice represents 40% of food production in India but is estimated to see a drop of about 6–10% in yield by 2030.
  • India is home to 25% of the global undernourished population.

Government Initiatives

  • The seven-year National Development Agenda 2017-2024 sets goals to boost productivity by promoting crop diversification, reducing the strain on natural resources, and increasing small-holder farmer profitability with the goal of ensuring food security.

Climate action

SDG Goals


  • Climate change in India has a 4–9% impact on agricultural productivity each year, resulting in a loss of approximately 2% in GDP annually.
  • By 2020, water available for agricultural use may be reduced by 21%.

Government Initiatives

  • India plans to reduce 27 million tons of carbon emissions by 2022.
  • The National Mission for Green India aims to expand the forested area by 5 million hectares, conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, and increase incomes of 3 million forest-dependent households by 2020.

Education and employability

SDG Goals


  • In 2015, India’s national literacy rate of 72% was well below the world average of 86%.
  • India’s total workforce rose to 520 million in 2017. Yet, only 5% of all workers have received skilled training.

Government Initiatives

  • The 2016 National Education Plan sets a national literacy goal of 90% and prioritises raising the gross enrolment ratio in higher education from 24% to 30% by 2020-2021. Skills training will be incorporated into 25% of schools by 2020.

Energy access

SDG Goals


  • India has one of the largest power systems in the world; yet 300 million people do not have access to electricity.
  • Only 33% of total energy capacity was installed as of May 2018, and 90% was fossil fuel dependent in 2017.
  • The demand for energy is estimated to increase by up to 3 times by 2040.

Government Initiatives

  • According to the 2018 National Electricity Plan, India aims to use 40% non-fossil-based power by 2030.
  • India is well ahead of National Energy Policy commitment to achieving 175 GW in renewable energy capacity and has recently increased the target to 227 GW by 2022.

Gender equality

SDG Goals


  • Maximising women’s economic contributions could increase India’s GDP by USD 2.9 trillion by 2025.
  • Nearly 50% of women do not have access to finance and 60% have no valuable assets in their name.
  • 92% of women in Delhi have reported experiencing sexual or physical violence in public.

Government Initiatives

  • In his 72nd Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi recognised the need to address women’s rights, sexual assault, and the benefits of mobilising the female workforce. Programmes such as Start-up India and the PMMY aim to promote female entrepreneurship.

Health care

SDG Goals


  • India loses 11% of GDP per year due to public health issues, with 6% specifically related to poor sanitation.
  • In 2016, the average life expectancy was 68.5 years compared to the global average of 72 years.

Government Initiatives

  • India announced a plan to provide free health insurance of up to USD 7,800 for 100 million poor households in 2018.
  • The country also plans to open 150,000 new medical centres to improve accessibility to health care services. Universal immunisation and decrease in maternal mortality are also priority areas India is focusing on.

Livelihood and poverty alleviation

SDG Goals


  • India’s Gini coefficient was 0.83 in 2017, which puts India among countries with high income inequality.
  • Home to nearly 18% of the world’s population, India also has the largest number of people living below the international poverty line of USD 1.90 a day.

Government Initiatives

  • The Indian government is focusing on increasing the number of highly skilled and paid jobs and doubling farmer incomes by 2022.
  • India’s Housing for All policy aims to construct 50 million homes by 2022.

MSME development

SDG Goals


  • 65 million SMEs in India account for over 95% of all enterprises but contribute only 11% of the country’s GDP, indicating their lack of competitiveness.
  • Low internet access (30% in 2016) is impeding MSME productivity.

Government Initiatives

  • Startup India, Skill India and Make in India programmes promote entrepreneurship and aim to enhance MSMEs’ competitiveness.

Social Economy

The Indian social economy is one of the most advanced in Asia, driven by collaborative social investment, a relatively developed impact investing market and an engaged corporate sector


Deal Share in India

Cool Australia creates digital education resources supporting 210,000 educators. We exist so students grow up in a happy, healthy and just society.


HOT unifies global mapping volunteers who create and maintain free, open-source maps to support community development and humanitarian aid that enable faster and more effective response efforts.

Climate Action and Environment, Gender, Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation

Shelter Associates (SA) a non-profit collective founded by architects, has provided low-cost data-driven Housing and sanitation solutions to 5 lakh slum-dwellers in India.

Affordable Housing, Gender, Governance, Health, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

Community Sports Program (CSP)

By Pro Sport Development

The CSP uses sport and physical activity in school settings in Odisha, India to aid the holistic development of young people from marginalized communities and empower them as gender-sensitive leaders.

Education, Gender, Health

Family strengthening for holistic development of children and youth in difficult circumstances. Group homes for children without parental care, family strengthening, skilling, education, employability

Education, Employability, Financial Inclusion, Gender, Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation

Through this project, we remove victims from situations of human trafficking and other forms of abuse & exploitation to safe and secure spaces facilitating their development to the fullest potential.

Gender, Governance, Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation

Strengthen Vulnerable Families, Children

By Miracle Foundation India

Provide holistic development to 26,000 children, youth & families (needs-based) through prevention & reintegration with a focus on family strengthening and family-based alternative care.

Education, Employability, Financial Inclusion, Gender, Health, Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene


By Good Business Lab

Inache is a two-way, anonymized, multilingual communication tool aimed at enabling worker voice in manufacturing settings thereby improving the work environment and business outcomes.

Employability, Gender

Case Studies

Case Studies in India

Circular Economy, Climate Action and Environment, Health, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

Water Reclamation and Reuse – Shore of the Holy Town of Rameswaram

Circular Economy, Climate Action and Environment, Health, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

Community Rainwater Harvesting for Water Resilience

Circular Economy, Climate Action and Environment, Health, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

Recharging Water Springs in the Himalayan City, Dharamshala

Circular Economy, Climate Action and Environment, Health, Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

Climate Sensitive Treatment Plants in Cities of Maharashtra, India

Climate Action and Environment, Energy

[Cover Article] Empowering Sustainable Energy Solutions and Infrastructure in India

Agriculture, Climate Action and Environment, Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation

[Cover Article] Addressing Climate Intersectionality in India



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Social Investment Landscape in Asia