NGO sector at risk of terror funding: Home ministry

'Only half of over 43,000 NGOs have submitted returns to govt'

NGO sector at risk of terror funding: Home ministry

Months before the Intelligence Bureau charged NGOs with compromising the country’s growth prospects, another arm of the Union Home Ministry had raised concerns over their vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The 2011-12 annual report on ‘Receipt and Utilisation of Foreign Contribution by Voluntary Associations’ under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which was put in the public domain this March, had noted that there is no centralised database on the number of NGOs in the country and the quantum of finance involved in their operations.

While unofficial figures indicated that there are over 20 lakh NGOs, it said the number of NGOs (43,527) registered under FCRA would be less than 2 per cent of the total number.

 “It is expected that the NGOs should be self-regulating and law abiding. While it is not proper to make sweeping generalisations, it is necessary to note that the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, necessary steps for rigorous enforcement as well as coordination with foreign countries for law enforcement will continue,” the report said.

Of the over 43,000 NGOs, only half have submitted annual returns to the government at a time when the number of NGOs getting donations above Rs 10 crore has almost doubled in 11 years.

NGOs in the country have received Rs 11,546.29 crore as foreign contributions during the year. Officials estimated this amount to now have risen to at least Rs 12,500 crore during 2012-13.

Even the FCRA wing of the Home Ministry has said that the figure of Rs 11,546 crore is not the exact amount as only  22,702 of the 43,527 NGOs, which were registered under FCRA up to March 2012, have submitted accounts. While 9,509 among the 22,702 reported that they did not receive any foreign contribution, 20,825 NGOs that did register with the government for receiving donations did not provide any accounts.

NGOs in Delhi and Karnataka figured among the top recipients, according to the latest available report. It had also indicated that the flow of foreign contribution emphasised the need for a rigorous enforcement system as organisations are “vulnerable” to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

In a report on ‘NGO activism against development projects in India — a review’, the Intelligence Bureau had accused NGOs like Greenpeace of opposing several development projects in India and “negatively impacting economic development”.

It had described Greenpeace as “a threat to national economic security”. The NGO had refuted the charge of stalling development, terming it a “conscious attempt to crush and stifle” opposing voices in civil society. 

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