NGOs asked to open a/c in designated banks

NGOs asked to open a/c in designated banks
NGOs, business entities and individuals who have permission to receive foreign funds will have to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including a foreign one, by the third week of January.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked all those having licence under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 or prior permission to receive foreign donations will have to do so by January 21.

The notice issued by the MHA on December 21 has said that such funds received under FCRA should not be utilised for activities detrimental to the national interest.Early this year, around 9,000 NGOs were asked to open accounts in banks having core banking facilities and furnish details for real-time access to security agencies in case of any discrepancy."The Central government has decided that all banks where the FCRA registered persons/organisations have opened their FC accounts would be integrated with Public Financial Management System (PFMS) for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance," it said.

The FCRA 2010 provides for the regulation of acceptance of the foreign funds or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations, organisations and companies "to ensure that such contributions or hospitality is not being utilised for the activities detrimental to the national interest", it said.

The NGOs and others will have to provide an intimation to the MHA about the details of the bank accounts under a prescribed form.Some banks have already integrated their systems with the PFMS for compliance of the central government's order, many banks have still not completed the integration of their systems with the PFMS despite repeated letters, directions and meetings, the MHA said.

While Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is a foreign bank in the list, the other banks include ICICI Bank, Cosmos Co-Operative Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, South Indian Bank, IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank, UCO Bank, IndusInd Bank Limited, City Union Bank and Syndicate Bank.

Allahabad Bank, The Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad UP Gramin Bank, DCB Bank Ltd, Manipur State Co-op Bank, Vijaya Bank, Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd, Yes Bank, Oriental Bank Of commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank and Axis Bank are also in the list.

Last week, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament that the registrations of 18,868 NGOs were cancelled between 2011 and 2017 for violating laws. Following the action, foreign funding to Indian NGOs has also come down drastically--from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 6,499 crore in 2016-17.

Rijiju had said the quantum of foreign funding received by NGOs in India in the last three years were: Rs 15,299 crore in 2014-15, Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 6,499 crore in 2016-17.

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