The Prime Minister's Office has written to all the ministries twice, asking them to furnish details of NGOs working with them on various projects. This comes soon after the PMO received a report from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) alleging that NGOs were threatening India's economic security.
NGOs working in various development sectors rubbished the report and said they had all the government clearances.
Editorial: NGOs can do little economic damage
The letters were sent on June 3 and 5 by Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to PM Narendra Modi, to all the secretaries heading various central ministries. The first letter, issued on June 3, merely sought details of all autonomous bodies and NGOs working with the ministries.
"This is for the first time that the PMO has sought such information. Ministries have been asked to give details of all autonomous bodies working under them, what is their function etc," said a senior government official who requested anonymity. "The PMO has also sought information on NGOs working with ministries such as when were they appointed and details of projects they are working on. We were just told that the PMO wanted to update its database."
Misra did not respond to a detailed email sent by HT. A separate email sent to Neelam Kapur, principal director general, Press Information Bureau also did not get a response.
The second letter issued on June 5 is much more detailed and seeks extensive details about the NGOs and the projects in which they are partnering with the ministries. It seeks details of the NGO, its affiliations, people on its board, foreigners working with it and details of their employment and visa, as well as Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) clearance.
FCRA clearance is a must for all NGOs to get foreign funding. This helps the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) monitor NGO funding and check antecedents of the international donors.
"We have only seen the reports about the IB report on the NGOs and we can assume that the letters issued to the ministries is a follow-up. However, the letter does not specify why this information is sought," a secretary confirmed to HT on the condition of anonymity.
It has been reported that a detailed report, prepared by SA Rizvi, joint director in the IB, was sent to the PMO. It alleged that NGOs like Greenpeace had been "stalling development projects". Greenpeace, an international NGO which works on environment issues, has rejected the allegations in the report.
The IB report also states that several Gujarat-based NGOs campaigned against the government. It reportedly says that organisations like Maldhari Rural Action Group, People's Union of Civil Liberties, and others had been protesting against the government.
"Some of the ministries that have a large component of social development, like human resources development, women and child development and rural development will have many NGOs partnering them in their welfare schemes," another senior government official told HT. Several NGOs have already said they were worried about the intentions of the government.