Government bars Zakir Naik’s NGO from receiving foreign funds

NEW DELHI: Invoking a rare provision of law, the government today issued a gazette notification to ban an NGO, run by controversial preacher Zakir Naik, from receiving foreign funds directly and asked RBI to seek prior permission from it before releasing any money to it.

Issuance of a gazette notification under Section 11(3) of the FCRA 2010 is a rare instance and such an act could also be done through an official order, sources said. Image

Issuance of a gazette notification under Section 11(3) of the FCRA 2010 is a rare instance and such an act could also be done through an official order, sources said.

The gazette notification, issued by the Home Ministry, said that Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has violated certain provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulations Act and therefore “would obtain prior permission from central government before accepting any foreign contribution”.

Issuance of a gazette notification under Section 11(3) of the FCRA 2010 is a rare instance and such an act could also be done through an official order, sources said.

The Home Ministry said the decision has been taken after a preliminary inquiry conducted by it found that the NGO was carrying out activities contrary to the provisions of the FCRA under which it has to function.

The Reserve Bank of India, henceforth, has to inform the Home Ministry about all funds coming to the NGO and permission has to be taken from the ministry before releasing them to IRF.
Sources said last month the Home Ministry had renewed the FCRA licence of IRF despite several ongoing probes against the NGO and its founder Naik including one by the Home Ministry itself.
Taking strong exception to the goof-up, the Home Ministry suspended Joint Secretary G K Dwivedi, who was heading the foreigners division of the ministry looking after the FCRA-related issues, and three other officials.
Naik was accused of radicalising and attracting youths for terror acts.
Naik has come under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ had reported that one of the attackers of the July 1 terror strike in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
He, in a lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”.
Naik, a popular but controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based IRF, is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects.

Source- Economics Times


Foreign Contribution Regulation Act: New crackdown on NGO foreign funds

Rajnath singh

The NDA government has proposed a series of amendments to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to strengthen its scrutiny of financial transactions involving NGOs.

In the most important change, the government plans to equate “economic security” for NGOs under the FCRA with the definition provided in Section 2 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Section 2 of the UAPA, amended in 2013, reads: “Economic security includes financial, monetary and fiscal stability, security of means of production and distribution, food security, livelihood security, energy security, ecological and environmental security.”

According to the proposed changes, NGOs and organisations that receive foreign donations will now have to share personal details, bank account details and bio-data of their trustees with the government.

Also, banks will have to provide online access to the Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau (IB) for monitoring the utilisation of accounts of all FCRA-registered associations.

In April, the Home Ministry had cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India for “adversely impacting the economic security” of the country.

The government also plans to “clearly define” provisions under the law that require “prior approval” for associations to receive foreign funding — 16 organisations are currently under this category, the latest being the Ford Foundation.

When contacted, a senior government official denied that these amendments were part of a clampdown on NGOs.

“There is no attempt to clamp down on NGOs, we are making arrangements to make the entire procedure transparent. On many occasions, the NGOs are not aware about the rules and procedures to be followed, the idea is to educate them too,” the official said.

“We propose to clearly define prior-approval category… The procedures for placing NGOs and associations under this category also need to be laid down threadbare. Apart from this, the government will periodically issue advisories and cautionary notices to foreign donors as well so that the rules are reiterated to them,” the official added.

According to the amended rules, any foreigner associated with an NGO, who is visiting India, will have to furnish his/her details with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), spelling out the purpose as well as the dates of the visits.

The NGOs will have to list all their activities and declarations on a website, and register themselves under one of the nine Indian Acts: Societies Registration Act, 1860, Indian Trust Act, 1882, Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956, Religion Endowments Act, 1863, Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, Mussalman Wakf Act, 1973, Wakf Act, 1954, Public Wakfs Act, 1959 and Section 12 A of IT Act.

Source- Indian Express

Foreign funding for NGOs: After inputs from IB, PMO tells Home Ministry to tighten FCRA regulations


NEW DELHI: Acting on instructions from the PM’s Office (PMO), the home ministry is stepping up scrutiny of foreign-funded non-governmental outfits based on recommendations of Intelligence Bureau, a move that could prove controversial coming as it does after actions against Ford Foundation and Greenpeace.

The ministry plans to tighten some rules of the principal law governing the sector — the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The home ministry has quickened its review of FCRA rules after the PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra wrote to Home Secretary LC Goyal asking him to put a mechanism in place “without any delay” to monitor foreign funding of NGOs.

The Intelligence Bureau’s recommendations, numbering a dozen, were received last week. Encouraging transparency and improving oversight will be the “guiding principles” of the exercise, ET has learnt.

PMO is said to be keen to have the new measures in place by June 15 in the interest of India’s “economic security”, officials said, explaining the urgency of the matter. The FCR rules were brought in by the erstwhile UPA government after FCRA was enacted in 2010, and these rules are now being tightened further.

As part of the proposed changes, NGOs may have to provide details of all foreign funding within 48 hours to ensure transparency.

“NGOs would be mandated to have a website on which they will be required to put out the details of each foreign inflow for public viewing within 48 hours of receiving the funds. This will include the source of funds, the intended activity for which the funds are expected to be used and the details of its partner NGOs in that specific project,” disclosed a senior government official. Annual audited reports for previous years should also be made public, the official said.

The ‘oversight’ part of the new measures would allow the government to keep close tabs on NGOs through stricter checks and inspections. A detailed oversight system, describing each step, is being worked upon by the home ministry, officials said. “Each NGO would know the parameters on which it will be inspected,” an official said.

The PMO communication to home ministry had stressed the “need for effective linkage between MHA, Reserve Bank of India and banks for effective monitoring” of NGOs. IB’s recommendations on the ‘oversight’ aspect is based on “it’s expertise in tracking NGOs misusing FCR Act and FCR rules,” a senior ministry official told ET.

Action against foreign-funded NGOs

The Modi administration has been accused by critics of clamping down on foreignfunded NGOs. The US-based Ford Foundation, one of the biggest nonprofit organisations across the world, was put on a watch list by MHA and each of its foreign donations is now vetted before permission is given for it to be credited to any FCRA-registered NGO in India.

“Officials of the Ford Foundation had met senior home ministry bureaucrats last week asking for a rethink on the move. Right now, there is no plan for a rethink till the inquiry against certain NGOs funded by Ford Foundation is complete.

The ministry is soon going to take a decision on the propriety of the funding given to Teesta Setalvad’s NGOs by Ford Foundation,” a senior home ministry official said.

Source- Economic Times

Home Ministry puts Ford Foundation under watch, says Teesta’s NGO not authorised to receive foreign funds

New Delhi: The Home Ministry said it has decided to keep a watch on all activities funded by Ford Foundation and by exercising the powers conferred under Section 46 of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010, directed Reserve Bank of India to ensure that funds coming from it be brought to the notice of the Home Ministry.

This action was taken after it was found that it had given funds to Teesta Setalvad’s NGO. Teesta’s NGO is not authorised to receive foreign funds under the foreign currency regulation act. Teesta’s funding has already been put under the scanner by the Gujarat Government.

“RBI is requested to instruct all the banks and their branches to ensure that any fund flow from the above mentioned agency to any person, NGO, organisation in India may be brought to the notice of the (Home) ministry so that funds are allowed to be credited into the accounts of the recipient only after clearance of of this ministry,” the order said.

Home Ministry puts Ford Foundation under watch, says Teesta's NGO not authorised to receive foreign funds