From targeting them for violation of foreign funding rules to helping them by giving online space on the ministry’s website to put up details of their foreign funding, the Union home ministry has come full circle on non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“We are in the process of amending the Foreign Contribution Regulation (FCR) rules that govern foreign funding of NGOs. Under the amended rules, all NGOs need to have websites. In case an NGO doesn’t have one, we will provide them space on the ministry’s foreigner division’s website to put up details of their funding and expenditure. We will provide them password-protected login names,” said a home ministry official.
The NGOs will have to upload a quarterly report of their funding and expenditure on their website or on the space given to them on the ministry’s website. The ministry also deliberated on asking all office-bearers of FCRA-registered NGOs to provide details of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. “The idea was to keep a tab on their social media profiles. But it was dropped,” said the official.
The ministry is taking everything online with regard to registration of NGOs to get foreign funding by the end of this month.
But the proposed rules have also come under criticism. “Several NGOs work in remote areas without proper Internet access. The ministry needs to look at the availability of infrastructure before going ahead with the online process. I would suggest it continue with submission of hard copies as well,” said Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).