FCRA registration revoked, JNU, DU, IGNOU, SC Bar can’t receive foreign funds
No organisation is allowed to receive funds from abroad unless it is registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.india Updated: Sep 14, 2017 11:25 IST
The Centre has barred several top universities, education institutions and prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from receiving foreign funds after they reportedly failed to file their annual returns for five consecutive years.
Some of the prominent educational institutions that figure in the list — constituting 18,871 names — are Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, IIT-Delhi, Mumbai University, Pune University, Panjab University, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and Lady Irwin College in the national capital.
Officials said the registration of these institutions under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act-2010 (FCRA) has been cancelled by the Union home ministry (MHA) due to their failure to file returns for the period extending from 2010-11 to 2014-15. The organisations were asked to furnish their replies by July 23, failing which action would be taken against them.
Heavyweight associations, societies and trusts affected by the action are the Supreme Court Bar Association, Kamala Nehru Education Society, Kasturba Peace Centre, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, School Of Planning & Architecture-Delhi, FICCI Socio-Economic Development Foundation, and People for Animals. Prominent health centres such as the Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Escorts Heart Institute and the Cancer Educational Society also figure in the list.
The MHA also directed 1,222 NGOs – including Sri Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Mission, Indore Cancer Foundation Charitable Trust and the Coimbatore Christian Charitable Trust – to validate their bank accounts and provide relevant details to the government. The move comes after the government found that the organisations – all registered under the FCRA – had not validated the bank accounts through which they receive foreign funds.
In a circular issued on September 8, the ministry had asked all NGOs to take corrective steps to avoid punitive action. A similar request was earlier made to 2,025 NGOs on June 7.
Ministry officials said non-validation of such accounts had been obstructing efforts made by banks to comply with FCRA provisions. While regulations clearly specify that foreign donations should be procured through a single designated bank account, a large number of NGOs were found to be using multiple accounts for the purpose.
The BJP government has already cancelled the registration of over 10,000 NGOs in the last three years for allegedly failing to file annual returns as mandated by the FCRA. Furthermore, violation of regulations was cited to disallow more than 1,300 NGOs from renewing their registration in the recent past.
The NGOs, however, allege that the government has been selectively targeting them. “It is not a level playing field,” Ravi Chellam, the executive director at Greenpeace India, told Hindustan Times. “When political parties need funding from foreign donors, they amend the law retrospectively. That is a problem – the law should be applied fairly to everyone.”
Greenpeace India has taken the government to court over the cancellation of its FCRA licence in December 2016.
The Public Health Foundation of India, which has also run into trouble, said they submitted all the details – including utilisation accounts of all the grants – as demanded by the government.
- Jawaharlal Nehru University
- University Of Delhi
- Indira Gandhi National Open University
- Indian Institute Of Technology, Delhi
- Panjab University
- Indian Council Of Agricultural Research
- Gargi College, Delhi
- Lady Irwin College, Delhi
- Supreme Court Bar Association
- Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi
- Doon School Old Boys Association
- Gandhi Peace Foundation
- Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan
- Armed Forces Flag Day Fund
- School Of Planning & Architecture
- Bombay Diocesan Society
- Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences
- Sri Satya Sai Trust
First Published: Sep 13, 2017 22:10 IST