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NGOs foreign contribution financing

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    26th Sep, 2019

The government has modified foreign contribution rules in a manner that will require each office-bearer of an NGO to declare they were not involved in religious conversion. Earlier, only directors of the NGO were supposed to make such a declaration.

Context

The government has modified foreign contribution rules in a manner that will require each office-bearer of an NGO to declare they were not involved in religious conversion. Earlier, only directors of the NGO were supposed to make such a declaration.

About

  • Under the amended rules, office-bearers, key functionaries and all members of the NGO will have to declare before the government that they were not prosecuted or convicted in a religious conversion case.
  • The ministry also announced the changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, which includes that individuals receiving personal gift valued up to Rs 1 lakh need not inform the government about it anymore. Earlier, the threshold value was Rs 25,000, as per the market value of the gift item in India.
  • In addition, every member of an NGO must also now, under oath, through an affidavit, certify that they have never been involved in “diverting” foreign funds or propagating “sedition” or “advocating violent means”.
  • In case of emergent medical aid needed during a visit abroad, the acceptance of foreign hospitality has to be intimated to the government within a month of such receipt, according to the amended rules.

    Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010

    The FCRA was enacted in 1976 in order to maintain strict control over voluntary organisations and political associations that received foreign fundings. In the year 1984, an amendment was made to the act requiring all the Non-Governmental Organisations to register them with the Home Ministry. In 2010, the act was repealed and a new act with strict provisions was enacted.

    Foreign Contribution Regulation Act is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

    Salient features:

    • The central government has the power to prohibit any persons or organizations from accepting foreign contribution or hospitality if it is determined that such acceptance would likely "affect prejudicially" (i) the sovereignty and integrity of India, (ii) public interest, (iii) freedom or fairness of election to any legislature, (iv) friendly relations with any foreign State, or (v) harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic or regional groups, castes or communities.
    • The focus of the Act is to ensure that the foreign contribution and foreign hospitality is not utilized to affect or influence electoral politics, public servants, judges and other people working the important areas of national life like journalists, printers and publishers of newspapers, etc.
    • The Act also seeks to regulate flow of foreign funds to voluntary organizations with the objective of preventing any possible diversion of such funds towards activities detrimental to the national interest and to ensure that individuals and organizations may function in a manner consistent with the values of the sovereign democratic republic.
    • Foreign funds received as fees for service, costs incurred for goods or services in the ordinary course of business, and trade or commerce are excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.

     

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