Noose tightens around NGOs: Banks have to report about such donations to the government within 48 hours of such receipts
New Delhi : Every NGO receiving foreign funds will have to put out details of it within one week on its website while banks will have to report about such donations to the government within 48 hours of such receipts. These are part of the proposed changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules suggested by the Home Ministry seeking to tighten the noose around erring NGOs.
The Ministry has also suggested that banks will have to inform it within 48 hours of receipt of foreign funds by any NGO. Earlier, NGOs were mandated to put in public domain details if receipt of foreign donations by them were in excess of Rs one crore and the same was also done only at the end of the financial year.
Earlier, banks were supposed to inform the government within 30 days only if a foreign contribution to any NGO exceeded Rs one crore in a single transaction or over a period of 30 days. Another change has been brought in the form which is supposed to be filled up online for registration or renewal of license for NGOs.
The Home Ministry has introduced a new declaration that the NGO must make it clear that the foreign aid received by it will not be used for any activities “detrimental to national interest, likely to affect public interest, or likely to prejudicially affect the security, scientific, strategic or economic interest of the state.” NGOs will have to also submit details of any social media account on Facebook or Twitter being operated by them.
The Home Ministry has issued a notification with the proposed draft amendment rules and sought public and stake- holders’ suggestion on or before July 1, 2015 which could be sent to the Foreigners Division of the Ministry, located in the NDCC-II Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110001. The move came after a series of actions on NGOs receiving foreign funds.
In January, Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a London-bound flight by immigration officers in New Delhi airport. She was to have addressed British parliamentarians there. The Delhi High Court later overturned the action by the Home Ministry and Pillai’s “offload” passport stamp was expunged in May. The Centre had in April blocked Greenpeace India’s bank accounts, following which the environmental group had to seek interim relief from the Delhi High Court.
In April, government ordered that funds coming from the US-based Ford Foundation should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from the Home Ministry. A crisis response campaigner with Greenpeace international, Aaron Gray-Block, was denied entry into India early this month as his name figured in a Home Ministry “black list”.
Licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs were cancelled in April for alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). This month, the government has cancelled the licence of 4,470 entities that surprisingly included a number of top universities like Delhi University, JNU, Supreme Court Bar Association and Escorts Heart Institute, which bars them from receiving foreign funds.