According to media reports, Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the license of more than 4800 NGOs in last 3 years over violation of norms of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The FCRA registrations of these NGOs were cancelled for not filing annual returns, said Union Minister Kiren Rijiju. The step taken against NGOs can be seen in connection with PM Modi’s decision of cracking down on illegal funding of NGOs.
Replying to a written question in Rajya Sabha, Rijiju said that as per the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010, all associations and NGOs, which are registered under the Act or which are given prior permission to receive foreign contribution under it are required to submit their annual returns, and income and expenditure statements, receipts and payment account, balance sheet for every fiscal. The NGOs were supposed to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks in order to integrate their systems with Public Financial Management System (PFMS). Non-submission of the mandatory annual returns is a violation of the provisions of the FCRA.
After the cancellation of FCRA registration, these NGOs won’t be able to receive any foreign funding. The government took this step in order to check shady financial dealings in which multiple NGOs were found to be involved. According to the media reports, a large number of these NGOs were operational in Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, and Maharashtra.
The NGOs whose license were suspended by the MHA include Islamic foundations and missionary groups like St Mary’s Convent in Wayanad and Ansarul Islam Charitable Trust in Malappuram, Mother Teresa Weaker Section Development Welfare Society in Andhra Pradesh, Yogi Ji Seva Sansthan in Bihar and Social Education Vision of Awareness (SEVA), Odisha.
Since coming to power, the Modi government has been very clear that violation in FCRA norms would not be tolerated. In the last few years, the government has taken steps to curb the illegal foreign funding of NGOs or suspended licenses or has revoked them all together for violation of regulations.
Earlier, in its order, the MHA referred to “A show cause notice served on 29 June, 2018, to explain in 15 days as to why appropriate action against their associations may not be taken as per the provisions of the FCRA, 2010, for not complying with the government’s direction issued under section 46 of the Act.”
Afterwards, the central government has suspended their license claiming, “Neither given any reply nor opened their bank accounts”, as mandated under section 17 of the FCRA, 2010, in PFMS-integrated banks for the higher level of transparency. Furthermore, the order added that the Central government “hereby suspends the FCRA registration for 180 day.”
The latest action by the government comes on the heels of ED’s raid against the Amnesty India. Amnesty India is known for anti-India stance on several issues and particularly on the issue of terrorism in Kashmir. The NGO came under the radar of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in October 2018. The raids were conducted at the office of the Amnesty India in Bangalore. They were unnecessarily and excessively critical of the Indian forces deployed in the valley and leave no opportunity of trying to peddle anti-India propaganda in the name of human rights before the rest of the world.
The decision of the Modi government is surely not going down well with ‘liberal’ & ‘elite’ class as their one-stop shop of illegal funding is shutting down one after other. The way ED and Home Ministry have taken strict actions against these NGOs, shows the willingness of the central government towards taking down FCRA violators irrespective of their status, position and influence.