The Centre on Wednesday informed Parliament that it has cancelled the foreign funding license of 6,677 non-governmental organisations between 2017 to 2021.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai provided the information in a written reply to questions put forth by Congress Rajya Sabha MPs Digvijaya Singh and Amee Yajnik. They had asked the government for statewise details about the number of NGOs whose Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, or FCRA, certificates had not been renewed or were suspended in the last five years.
Registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act is mandatory to receive foreign funds. Legal amendments made in 2020 to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act allow the government to extend tighter control over the utilisation of foreign funds by organisations.
In Wednesday’s answer, Rai said that the NGOs will not be eligible for registration or grant of prior permission for three years from the date of cancellation of their registration.
He also said that the most number of licences were cancelled in Tamil Nadu (755), followed by Maharashtra (734), Uttar Pradesh (635), Andhra Pradesh (622) and West Bengal (611).
In another question, regarding the cancellation of the foreign funding licence of two NGOs headed by former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rai said they were found to have been violating the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
In October, the Centre had suspended the licence of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust. Both organisations have top leaders of the Congress party, including Rahul Gandhi, as members.
The FCRA licence was cancelled under section 14 (not being engaged in any reasonable activity in its chosen field for the benefit of the society for two consecutive years or has become defunct), for violation of provisions under section 11 (no person having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme shall accept foreign contribution unless such person obtains a certificate of registration from the central government) and section 12(4)(a)(vi) (not to use foreign contribution for personal gains and divert it for undesirable purposes) of the Act, Rai said.