NGOs changing office-bearers under scanner

Under the Narendra Modi government, the NGOs receiving foreign funds were under intense scrutiny and more than 20,000 such organisations were taken out of the FCRA ambit. Several organisations had lost permission to take foreign contribution after they failed to furnish accounts for several years. File Photo

After finding out that several NGOs eligible to receive foreign funds have changed their office-bearers without prior approval and did not inform about the changes, the Government has warned action against them but gave a one month's time to submit details.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a public notice on Friday that said all organisations given permission to collect funds from abroad under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 have to submit details about their office-bearers and key functionaries.

However, it has noticed that "some associations, having been registered under the Act, have changed their office bearers/key functionaries without approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs".

It was also noticed that many of them had not updated the details of changes in office-bearers on a "real time basis" through online application meant for intimating these.

The notification said the organisations have to submit "additions/ deletion/ change of details" in prescribed format about such changes within one month.

Failing this, it said, penal action would be initiated against the organisations, which do not follow the procedure.

Under the Narendra Modi government, the NGOs receiving foreign funds were under intense scrutiny and more than 20,000 such organisations were taken out of the FCRA ambit. Several organisations had lost permission to take foreign contribution after they failed to furnish accounts for several years.

In June last year, it also launched an Online Analytical Tool to scrutinise its source and actual use in the country to keep a close watch on flow of foreign funds. The analytical tool also gave authorities the 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 any illegal use of foreign funds. Under the FCRA, the organisation which received the funds can use it only for the purpose mentioned by the donor and accepted by the government.

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.

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