Of 9k NGOs, only one appeals to save licence

Only one of the about 9,000 NGOs and institutions that recently lost their licence to collect foreign funds has filed an appeal with the Union Home Ministry for revoking the decision.

The Union Home Ministry has, in two instalments, cancelled the permission of 8,975 NGOs and institutions after they failed to submit mandatory returns and respond to a show-cause notice issued in September last year. With this, the number of NGOs with permission to collect foreign contribution has come down to about 36,000.

Sources said all the NGOs could appeal against the order with the ministry seeking to restore their licence but only one in Uttarakhand has done so far.

"Only one NGO from Uttarakhand has filed an appeal against the cancellation order," a senior official said but did not identify the organisation. The latest action saw several organisations, including Delhi Karnataka Sangh, Gandhi Peace Foundation, All India Tennis Association (AITA) and Education Department of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, losing their registration besides Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's "Kabir"; Panjab University, Chandigarh; Gujarat National Law University; Lady Irwin College, Delhi and Vikram Sarabhai Foundation.

"If an NGO does not file returns for three years in a row and then does not respond to show-cause notice, we assume they are dysfunctional and do not need the licence," a senior official said.

The Ministry had issued show-cause notices to 10,334 NGOs and institutions in September last year asking why their registration under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) should not be cancelled as they had not filed the returns for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Only 229 responded, the official said.

The ministry has started publicising the names of the NGOs and institutions whose registration were being cancelled.

Though the names of NGOs and institutions from Karnataka are not uploaded in the website as of now, the ministry has issued show-cause notices to 821 institutions in Karnataka in September 2014. This included Bangalore-based Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research (where Bharat Ratna C N R Rao is a faculty), Kuvempu University, Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, Karnataka State Handicraft Development Ltd and Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University.

A large number of educational institutions like the prestigious Cochin University Of Science and Technology, Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala, Delhi-based Lady Irwin College and Gujarat National Law University have figured in the list published by the ministry.

At a time when the Narendra Modi government is giving importance to yoga, a number of organisations related to yoga like Delhi Yoga Sabha also faced the brunt of the Home Ministry action. The list also includes Odisha's "The Romantic Club" and West Bengal's "Friendship Club".

On the cancellation of registration of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, the official said they had applied for the licence but they actually do not need it as they were set up by Parliament. "Those set through a Parliament Act do not need FCRA registration. We decided to cancel it as part of erasing duplication," he said.

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