MHA to use online analytical tool to scrutinise foreign funds

MHA to use online analytical tool to scrutinise foreign funds

In picture: Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI photo.

To keep a close watch on the flow of foreign funds, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday launched an online analytical tool to scrutinise its source and their actual use in the country.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled the new tool that officials said will facilitate the closer monitoring of the flow and utilisation of foreign contributions received by various organisations registered or permitted under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

The web-based tool enables decision-makers in various government departments to "scrutinise source of foreign funds and their actual use in India", a senior official said.

The analytical tool also will give the authorities capacity to take data-driven and evidence-based decisions regarding the compliance of the provisions of the FCRA.

Using the online tool, the officials in the Foreigners Division of the MHA can "conduct big data mining and data exploration", which can detect illegal use of foreign funds.

Under FCRA, the organisation which received the funds can use it only for the purpose mentioned by the donor and accepted by the government.

According to the officials, the analytical tool's dashboard is integrated with the bank accounts of the FCRA-registered entities through the Public Financial Management System for updating transactional data on a real-time basis.

Official data showed that there are around 25,000 organisations which have the FCRA licence to receive foreign funds for their projects.

Foreign contributions worth Rs 18,065 crore were received by such organisations from foreign donors for various social, cultural, economic, educational and religious activities during 2016-17.

"Each FCRA-NGO conducts multiple financial transactions in receiving and spending the foreign contribution. Therefore, there are hundreds of thousands of such transactions annually which can be monitored effectively through this tool. It will, therefore, help the stakeholders in government to better regulate acceptance and utilisation of foreign contributions," the official said.

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