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Opinion

NGOs seeking foreign funding to deal with strict new government rules

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NGOs seeking to receive foreign funding will now face stricter rules with the Union Ministry of the Interior, making it clear that such organizations must have existed for at least three years and spent 15 lakhs of rupees on voluntary activities to be eligible for receive money from abroad.

In a notification, the Interior Ministry also said NGO position holders who wish to register under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act must submit a donor-specific commitment letter stating the amount of the foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to grant it. .

The FCRA rules were issued about two months after the central government amended the law making it mandatory to provide the Aadhaar numbers of NGO office holders, office expenses were reduced to 20 per 100 of that amount and electoral candidates, government officials, members of any legislature and political parties were prohibited from accepting foreign funding.

“A person requesting registration under clause (b) of subsection (4) of section 12 of the Act must meet the following conditions, namely: – (i) must exist for three years and have spent a minimum amount of 15 lakh rupees in its main activities for the benefit of society during the last three financial years, ”the notice said.

According to the rules, any NGO or person who submits an application for prior permission to receive foreign funds must have an FCRA Account.

The Ministry of the Interior said that “a person requesting prior permission to receive a specific amount from a specific donor to carry out specific activities or projects must meet certain criteria including the presentation of a specific letter of commitment from the donor indicating the amount of the foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to give ”.

For Indian recipients and foreign donor organizations that have common members, prior permission will be granted to the Indian person / entity if they meet the conditions that the principal officer of the recipient will not be part of the donor organization, and 75 percent of the office holders or members of the recipient’s governing body shall not be members or employees of the foreign donor organization.

In the event that the foreign donor organization is a single person, that person shall not be the principal officer or the holder of the position of the recipient group and, in the case of a single foreign donor, 75 per cent of the holders of the position or Members of the governing body of the recipient will not be family members or close relatives of the donor, the Interior Ministry said.

NGOs registered under the FCRA received more than Rs 58,000 crore foreign funds between 2016-17 and 2018-19. There are around 22,400 NGOs in the country. PTI ACB RDM RDM

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