The international donor agency Ford Foundation, under government watch for funding NGOs of Teesta Setalvad, agreed to a key demand of the Union home ministry for its smooth operations in India, applying for registration under the Indian law.
“We have recently submitted, at the (Indian) government’s direction, an application for registration under applicable Indian law,” said the foundation in a statement e-mailed to HT.
According to ministry officials, all liaison offices of international donor agencies need to register under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema). Since the foundation had not done so, it was asked to register. To make it easier for the foundation to work in India, the ministry also allowed it bring in US $1,50,000 per month as administrative expenses.
In April, the ministry put the agency on its watch-list for funding Setalvad’s NGOs, saying they didn’t use the foundation money for the stated purpose, a violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. Setalvad, a vocal critic of PM Narendra Modi, denied the charge but the home ministry asked the CBI to probe further.
The foundation has said it has provided ‘complete information’ on funding to Teesta’s NGOs ‘as requested by the government agencies’.
According to the foundation, grants recommended by its India office are paid from the foundation’s headquarters in New York. The critical role of India office is to understand local context, work with local partners, and identify needs and opportunities within each unique region.