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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Government tightens religious conversion rule for NGOs in foreign funding tweaks

The law governs the use of foreign donations and contributions and has been tightened by the National Democratic Alliance government over the past few years to check violations.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2019 12:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
In the latest amendment to the rules governing FCRA, the Centre also made other changes. The rules allowing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to received foreign contribution have been made stricter.
In the latest amendment to the rules governing FCRA, the Centre also made other changes. The rules allowing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to received foreign contribution have been made stricter.(HT FILE)
         

The home ministry said on Monday those receiving personal gifts from other countries with value up to Rs 1 lakh don’t need to inform the government under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), increasing the previous threshold value of Rs 25,000 in a newly released gazette notification.

The law governs the use of foreign donations and contributions and has been tightened by the National Democratic Alliance government over the past few years to check violations.

In the latest amendment to the rules governing FCRA, the Centre also made other changes. The rules allowing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to received foreign contribution have been made stricter. Monday’s notification said it is now mandatory for every key member of an NGO – “office bearers and key functionaries and members” – to certify that they have not been “prosecuted or convicted” for “conversion” from one faith to another and for creating “communal tension and disharmony”.

The notification also said that in case of emergent medical aid needed during a visit to another country, the acceptance of foreign hospitality has to be intimated to the government within a month of such receipt. It also reduced the time frame for informing the government about the source, approximate value and purpose of such receipts from two months to one month.

The notification said that every member of an NGO must also certify under oath that they have never been involved in “diverting” foreign funds or “advocating violent means”. Earlier, this declaration was to be given by only key members of NGOs.

Several NGOs have in the past been reported by security and intelligence agencies for a range of activities – violation of FCRA, links with left-wing extremists, “conversion” of tribals, and association with organisations such as the Students Islamic Movement of India and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

Permissions to receive foreign contributions have been taken away from nearly 18,000 NGOs that were found to be violating various clauses of FCRA since 2014, according to official estimates.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 04:10 IST

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