Seventy seven NGOs have been put under Government's watch list and their names have been circulated to Indian missions abroad which have been told to keep a check on visas being considered for members of these organisations.
The Government action comes close on the heels of four NGOs being put under the scanner for allegedly fuelling protests against the Kudankulam nuclear project in Tamil Nadu.
During a high-level meeting on Economic Intelligence recently, it was informed that a list of 77 "suspect" NGOs prepared by the home ministry was handed over to the external affairs ministry, official sources said.
The list was prepared by the home ministry after a discreet probe by security agencies with the help of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Central Economic Intelligence Bureau in which role of some NGO's especially those based in the United States and European Union was looked into, the sources said.
Minutes of the meeting in which the Intelligence Bureau top brass was present show that the issue figured, highly-placed sources said.
However, union home secretary RK Singh has denied that 77 NGOs were being probed. "It is incorrect to say that 77 NGOs are being investigated. We are looking into the accounts of 12-13 Indian NGOs with regard to allegation of funds diversion," Singh had said.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the MEA official informed the meeting that the list provided by the home ministry had been circulated for "appropriate action".
During the meeting, MEA informed that the list of NGOs prepared by the Home Ministry had been circulated to Indian Missions abroad with an advice that visa applications from members of such NGOs need to be properly scrutinised and monitored.
"The US and the EU constitute a major part of donors and certain additional details were required from MHA which were yet to be received by MEA," it said.
The role of NGOs in fuelling protest against nuclear power project came under spotlight when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during an interview to a science magazine spoke about some NGOs, mostly based in the US, lending support to the protests against the Kudankulam project.
"There are NGO's often funded from the United states and Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces," the Prime Minister had told the 'Science' magazine.
Then, referring to the protests at Kudankulam, he had said, "the atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States, don't appreciate need for our country to increase the energy supply."
Singh had also questioned the role of these NGOs for their protest in the field of biotechnology.