New Delhi, Sept 14: The Ministry of Home Affairs has reportedly cancelled the foreign funding license of many prominent higher education institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University (DU), IIT-Delhi and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The ministry cancelled their registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) as the institutions reportedly failed to file their annual returns for the last five years.

According to the Home Ministry, several higher education institutions have been barred from receiving foreign funding after failed to file their returns for five consecutive years, 2010-11 to 2014-15, despite being served repeated notices, reported Indian Express. While revoking the licence of top institutes, the ministry has also directed 1,222 NGOs across the country to validate the bank accounts in which they receive foreign funds, failure of which will invite punitive action.

Only organisations and institutes registered under FCRA are allowed to receive funds from abroad. Under FCRA, it is mandatory for such organisations to submit their annual income and expenditure statements to the government. “Those registered under FCRA were given time to file their annual returns and link their bank accounts. Some of the government-aided NGOs claimed that they were exempted. However, they were told to file their documents… Those who failed to submit their returns stand to lose their FCRA licences. The organisation can, however, appeal against the cancellation, which will be considered on merit,” a Home Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Besides JNU, DU, IIT-Delhi and ICAR, other organisations whose FCRA licences have been revoked are: the Supreme Court Bar Association, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Panjab University, Gargi College (Delhi), Lady Irwin College (Delhi), Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Armed Forces Flag Day Fund, School Of Planning & Architecture (Delhi) and FICCI Socio Economic Development Foundation.

The FCRA registration of Doon School Old Boys Association, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College (Delhi), Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia International Trust, Co-ordinating Voluntary Adoption Resource Agency, Bombay Diocesan Society, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (Karnataka), Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (Bengaluru), Shri Mahatma Gandhi Charitable Trust (Gujarat) and Sri Satya Sai Trust have also been cancelled.

In May, the government asked all NGOs to file their annual returns without payment of penalty in one month. “This was followed by regular email alerts from May 19, 2017, to June 14, 2017… daily SMS alerts from May 5, 2017, to June 14, 2017. However, despite sufficient and adequate notice, it was observed that thousands of NGOs had not uploaded their annual returns for three or more than three years within the stipulated time,” a Home Ministry official was quoted as saying.