November 4, 2016
Two years after the NDA government cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of 10,000 NGOs, the licences of another 11,000 NGOs expired as they did not apply for renewal in time.
A senior Home Ministry official said “expiry” technically meant cancellation and the NGOs could no longer receive foreign funds now. Among the most significant cancellations were — Adani Foundation promoted by business tycoon Gautam Adani, Oxfam Trust, the Indian arm of the British human rights organisation and Salam Balak Trust, which works for children’s rights.
The fate of another 1,700 NGOs is in a limbo as the Home Ministry has put them under “closed” category for submitting incomplete documents.
According to Arjun Kumar Phillips of Voluntary Action India, an umbrella organisation of over 500 NGOs, the “closed” category is a new procedure initiated by the Home Ministry. “Despite many NGOs submitting completed documents, they have been put under the closed category. Tata Memorial Trust, which is a renowned organisation and has always complied with norms, has also been put under this category,” Mr. Phillips said.
As per the Home Ministry website, some of the other NGOs whose FCRA licences expired were Lady Shriram College in Delhi, India Habitat Centre, Aligarh Muslim University, National Blind Youth Association, Red Crescent Society, Tehelka Foundation, Dr. Zakir Husain Educational and Cultural Society, Pondicherry University, Shri Ramkrishna Ashram, Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Medical Association and Christian Medical College in Vellore.
This brings down the number of NGOs that can receive foreign donations from 33,000 to 25,000.
Soon after it came to power in 2014, the NDA government began a cleaning exercise and cancelled the registration of 10,000 NGOs which were either dormant or were not complying with the norms.
Since the FCRA licence is given for five years, this year all the NGOs had to apply for a renewal and the last date was June 30. The last time such an exercise was done was in 2011 after the FCRA Act was amended in 2010.