1,222 NGOs asked to validate bank accounts or face action
The Home Ministry has asked 1,222 NGOs to validate their foreign funds' bank accounts. If they fail to do so, they will face penal action under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. In its three years, the Modi government has cracked down on NGOs and their foreign funding. Thousands have had licenses canceled. Which NGOs have been named this time? Find out more.
A brief history of the FCRA and its evolution
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act intends to regulate foreign contributions to organizations including political parties and NGOs. It was first enacted in 1976 during Indira Gandhi's rule, prohibiting parties, judges, MPs and even media houses from accepting foreign donation. In 2010, it underwent radical changes. Registration now had to be renewed every five years. NGOs can use only 50% foreign funds for administrative expenses.
The Modi government tightened the noose on NGO funding
The Modi government has cancelled registration of over 10,000 NGOs in the last three years because they failed to file annual returns as required under FCRA. Over 1,300 NGOs have been denied renewals because of past violations of FCRA provisions. However, political parties, which receive a significant amount from foreign donors, were left out of the FCRA's net.
Teesta Setalvad, one of the main victims of the FCRA
In 2016, Teesta Setalvad's NGO Sabrang Trust's license was canceled. Teesta, known for fighting for the Godhra riots' victims, was accused of embezzling funds obtained from foreign entities for personal gains and using it for her media house's operations. These aspects are prohibited under FCRA.
The latest directive of the Modi government under FCRA
The home ministry has issued a circular that all NGOs registered under FCRA should validate their bank account through which they receive foreign donations. Further, a single bank account should be designated for this purpose. Many NGOs had not ensured this, making it difficult for banks to notify the government about any such donation within 48 hours, as is laid down by FCRA.
Which organizations have been notified?
Some NGOs which have been notified are Sri Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Mission, Indore Cancer Foundation Charitable Trust, Coimbatore Christian Charitable Trust, Delhi School of Social Work Society, Hindu Anath Ashram, Madani Darut Tarbiyat, Rehmat E Alam Hospital Trust Anantanag, among others.