New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led Centre has tightened rules for the non-governmental organisations that plan to receive foreign funding to function their operations. Issuing a notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs made it clear that only that organisations would be eligible to get money from abroad, which have existed for at least three years and spent Rs 15 lakh in voluntary activities.Also Read - PM Modi’s Security Lapse: What Is Blue Book Rules That Punjab Police Allegedly Ignored | Know What SPG’s Manual Says
The government has made the changes in a bid to bringing transparency in the funding of NGOs and check activities hawala, tax evasions and money laundering. Also Read - Oxfam, IMA, IIT Delhi, Jamia Milia Among 6,000 NGOs to Lose Foreign Funding Licence: MHA
Earlier, the government had made it mandatory for NGOs to open accounts only in designated banks for receiving foreign funds. Furthermore, it had prohibited over 150 organisations for six months for not sticking to the order. Also Read - No Accounts Frozen, Says Home Ministry as Foreign Funds Clearance of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity Refused
Meanwhile, in the latest notification, the home ministry said that NGOs seeking foreign funds should must register themselves under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. The registration will be valid for five years and can be renewed thereafter.
Office bearers of the NGOs seeking registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act must submit a specific commitment letter from the donor indicating the amount of foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to be given.
“A person seeking registration under clause (b) of sub-section (4) of section 12 of the Act shall meet the following conditions, namely:– (i) it shall be in existence for three years and have spent a minimum amount of rupees fifteen lakh on its core activities for the benefit of society during the last three financial years,” the notification added.
As per the rules, any NGO or person making an application for obtaining prior permission to receive foreign funds shall have an FCRA Account.
“A person seeking prior permission for receipt of a specific amount from a specific donor for carrying out specific activities or projects shall meet certain criteria that include submission of a specific commitment letter from the donor indicating the amount of foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to be given”, said the home ministry.
According to government data, there are around 22,400 NGOs in the country. From 2016-19, NGOs registered under the FCRA have received more than Rs 58,000 crore foreign funds.
(With PTI inputs)