Govt brings out dos and don'ts for NGOs

Govt brings out dos and don'ts for NGOs

NGOs will have to give an undertaking that they will not indulge in any activities that will “prejudicially” affect the security, strategic, scientific and economic interests of the country, according to draft amendments to Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR).

The move comes against the backdrop of the government’s actions against Greenpeace India, Ford Foundation and NGOs involved in the protest against Kudankulam nuclear project earlier.

The existing declaration in the form, through which NGOs submit the account of foreign contribution for every fiscal, is a generic one that promises that the furnished details are “true and correct” and the foreign funds were used for the purpose for which permission was granted.

However, the proposed changes in FCRR 2011 want the NGOs to give a declaration that the foreign funds it received were not used for activities that were “detrimental to national interest”.

They also have to certify that their activities were “not likely to affect prejudicially public interest” and “not likely to affect prejudicially the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest” of the state.

Fear of misuse

Activists opined that these provisi­ons give official machinery a ch­ance to “misuse” an­d “harass” the civil society groups.

Officials claimed that organisations receiving foreign funds utilised the money against the “economic” interests of the country in some cases. 

While serving show-cause notice to Greenpeace India, the Union Home Ministry had in April said that it had used foreign funds for “protest creation” and acted against 

the economic interests of the country. It also put Ford Foundation on prior permission list after it was found that some NGOs receiving funds from the Foundation were not submitting accounts.

In the recent past, the ministry had cancelled permission to about 9,000 NGOs to receive foreign funds after they did not submit annual financial reports as mandated by the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). 

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